#MilitaryMonday

An overhead view of the battleship USS IOWA (BB-61) firing all 15 of its guns (nine 16-inch and six 5-inch) during a target exercise near Vieques Island.  Careful observation of the three main turrets shows the barrels in various states of recoil. Photo: US Navy

An overhead view of the battleship USS IOWA (BB-61) firing all 15 of its guns (nine 16-inch and six 5-inch) during a target exercise near Vieques Island. Careful observation of the three main turrets shows the barrels in various states of recoil.
Photo: US Navy

A weekly feature honoring the armed forces of the United States and its Allies.

1898, the cruiser Charleston (C 2) captures the island of Guam, its Spanish colonial government unaware that their country is at war with the United States. The island was taken by the United States without incident and the Charleston went down in history as the ship that raised the American flag on Guam.

USS Charleston at Hong Kong, 1898. Credit: US Navy

USS Charleston at Hong Kong, 1898.
Credit: US Navy

An undated photo shows Sailors of USS Charleston (C 2) manning one of the ship's guns during the Spanish-American War.  U.S. Navy photo

An undated photo shows Sailors of USS Charleston (C 2) manning one of the ship’s guns during the Spanish-American War.
U.S. Navy photo

Charleston at Manila. US Navy photo

Charleston at Manila.
US Navy photo

The US Navy’s Last Ships

I talk a lot about US Navy’s firsts and there have been A LOT, but with the TNT premiere of The Last Ship on Sunday night, I thought I’d pay homage to Navy’s “lasts!”

  • The LAST SHIP in commission from the War of 1812: USS Constitution. Currently, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat is undergoing restoration, but it’s still open for visitors.
BOSTON (Aug. 29, 2014) USS Constitution sets sail in Boston Harbor during the ship's second and final chief petty officer heritage week underway demonstration of 2014. More than 150 chief petty officer selects and mentors assisted the crew of Constitution with setting the ship's three topsails during the underway to conclude a week of sail training aboard Old Ironsides. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Victoria Kinney)

BOSTON (Aug. 29, 2014) USS Constitution sets sail in Boston Harbor during the ship’s second and final chief petty officer heritage week underway demonstration of 2014. More than 150 chief petty officer selects and mentors assisted the crew of Constitution with setting the ship’s three topsails during the underway to conclude a week of sail training aboard Old Ironsides. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Victoria Kinney)

  • The LAST SHIP commissioned as a battleship: USS Wisconsin (BB 64). While it’s true USS Missouri (BB 63) was the last battleship in commission, Wisconsin, was not only the last of the four commissioned Iowa-class battlewagons to be commissioned when they were first built, she was the last of the four to be recommissioned for service in the late 80s and early 90s.  She was decommissioned for the final time in 1991 after serving in Desert Storm.
USS Wisconsin (BB-64)  Firing a broadside to port with her 16/50 and 5/38 guns, circa 1988-91.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

USS Wisconsin (BB-64) Firing a broadside to port with her 16/50 and 5/38 guns, circa 1988-91. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

  • The LAST SHIP to sink at the Battle of Midway: USS Yorktown (CV 5). It might be said that by the time Yorktown participated in the Battle of Midway, she was already on borrowed time having fought so valiantly at Coral Sea only three weeks earlier where she sustained significant damage.  But her crew and shipyard workers at Pearl Harbor returned the ship to sea in time for the pivotal Battle of Midway. Yorktown played a key role in the victory that spelled the beginning of the end of Japanese aggression in the Pacific, but as she was repairing damage from the second battle a Japanese sub launched a salvo of torpedoes at her and the accompanying destroyer USS Hamman, which quickly sank.  Yorktown, struck twice by the subs torpedoes and further damaged as the sinking Hamman’s depth charges ignited, remained stubbornly afloat for another 18 hours before finally rolling over and sinking. Yorktown earned three battle stars for her World War II service; two of them being for the significant part she had played in stopping Japanese expansion and turning the tide of the war at Coral Sea and at Midway.
Anchored in Hampton Roads, Virginia, 30 October 1937.  U.S. Navy Photograph.

Anchored in Hampton Roads, Virginia, 30 October 1937. U.S. Navy Photograph.

  • The LAST SHIP of the Oliver Hazard Perry Class to deploy: USS Kauffman (FFG 59).  She was commissioned in February 1987 and left Norfolk for her last deployment in January 2015. After she returns home from serving and protecting her country, she will become the last of the Oliver Hazard Perry class of ships to retire.
NEW YORK (May 25, 2011) The guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) transits the Hudson River during Fleet Week 2011 parade of ships. Fleet Week has been New York City's celebration of the sea services since 1984. It is an opportunity for citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, as well as see first-hand, the latest capabilities of today's maritime services. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric S. Garst)

NEW YORK (May 25, 2011) The guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) transits the Hudson River during Fleet Week 2011 parade of ships. Fleet Week has been New York City’s celebration of the sea services since 1984. It is an opportunity for citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, as well as see first-hand, the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric S. Garst)

  • The LAST SHIP to be named for a Medal of Honor recipient: USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112). Named to honor Lt. Michael Murphy’s heroic actions during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan, the ship recently returned home from its maiden deployment. The ship and crew of more than 300 Sailors conducted goodwill activities with partner nations and various presence operations such as Oceania Maritime Security Initiative in the Pacific Ocean during its seven month deployment.
  • The LAST SHIP to be commissioned in memory of the sacrifice and loss of 9/11: USS Somerset (LPD 25). Joining her sister ships, USS New York (LPD 21) and USS Arlington (LPD 24), Somerset joined the fleet on March 1, 2014.  Her mission is to embark, transport, and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions.
GULF OF MEXICO (Aug. 19, 2013) The Ingalls-built amphibious transport dock ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Somerset (LPD 25) transits the Gulf of Mexico during builder's sea trials. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. by Steve Blount)

GULF OF MEXICO (Aug. 19, 2013) The Ingalls-built amphibious transport dock ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Somerset (LPD 25) transits the Gulf of Mexico during builder’s sea trials. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. by Steve Blount)

  • The LAST SHIP to test the Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D): USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). In August 2014, the X-47B unmanned aircraft conducted its first night time deck handling and taxi tests and completed a series of tests demonstrating its ability to take off, land and fly in the carrier pattern with manned aircraft while maintaining normal flight deck operations.
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 17, 2014) The Navy's unmanned X-47B launches from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). The aircraft completed a series of tests demonstrating its ability to operate safely and seamlessly with manned aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by  Liz Wolter)

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 17, 2014) The Navy’s unmanned X-47B launches from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). The aircraft completed a series of tests demonstrating its ability to operate safely and seamlessly with manned aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by Liz Wolter)

  • The LAST SHIP to have Admiral Chester Nimitz as its Commanding Officer: USS Augusta (CA31). In 1933, long before he became Chief of Naval Operations in 1945, he commanded USS Augusta, the flagship of the Asiatic Fleet.
(CA-31)  Anchored in the Hudson River, off New York City, at the time of the Navy Day Fleet Review, circa late October 1945.  Collection of Warren Beltramini, donated by Beryl Beltramini, 2007.  U.S. Navy Historical Collections Photo.

(CA-31) Anchored in the Hudson River, off New York City, at the time of the Navy Day Fleet Review, circa late October 1945. Collection of Warren Beltramini, donated by Beryl Beltramini, 2007. U.S. Navy Historical Collections Photo.

  • The LAST SHIP to launch U.S. Army bombers: USS Hornet (CV 8). Conceived in January 1942 in the wake of the devastating Japanese surprise attack on Oahu, the Doolittle Raid or the “joint Army-Navy bombing project” was to bomb Japanese industrial centers, to inflict both “material and psychological” damage upon the enemy. In the joint operation, 16 Army B-25 Mitchell Bombers launched April 18, 1942 from the deck of Hornet to conductair raids on Tokyo, Yokosuka, Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagoya, against negligible opposition.
“The Tokyo Raid By US Army B-25 Bombers,” April 1942 by John Charles Roach, Oil Painting on Canvas, WWII. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Gallery 2012-12-8)

“The Tokyo Raid By US Army B-25 Bombers,” April 1942 by John Charles Roach, Oil Painting on Canvas, WWII. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Gallery 2012-12-8)

  • The LAST SHIP to have a treaty signed on its decks: USS Missouri (BB63). Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, signed the Instrument of Surrender as United States Representative, on board USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945 thus marking the formal end of World War II.
General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Watching from across the table are Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. Representatives of the Allied powers are behind General MacArthur. Photographed from atop Missouri's 16-inch gun turret # 2.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Watching from across the table are Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. Representatives of the Allied powers are behind General MacArthur. Photographed from atop Missouri’s 16-inch gun turret # 2. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

  • The LAST SHIP to fight in the American Revolution: USS Alliance. On March 10, 1783, more than a month after the Treaty of Paris officially ended the American Revolution, the 36-gun Continental frigate Alliance, commanded by Capt. John Barry, departs Havana with companion ship Due de Lauzun carrying money for Congress. South of Cape Canaveral, Fla., she sights three enemy warships closing in. To protect Due de Lauzen, Barry places Alliance between the vessel and HMS Sybil. After being damaged in battle, Sybil disengages.
USS Alliance

USS Alliance

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#MilitaryMonday

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Military Monday is a weekly feature in appreciation of the armed forces of the United States and its Allies.

1777, the Continental Congress adopts the design of the present U.S. flag. Journal entry reads: “Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The ‪‎US Navy‬ played a key role in our flag’s history: http://go.usa.gov/3EqJA

“140th Flag Day, 1777-1917”. Color lithograph shows a man raising the American flag, with a minuteman cheering and an eagle flying above. 'Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh, long may it wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave’ Library of Congress photograph

“140th Flag Day, 1777-1917”. Color lithograph shows a man raising the American flag, with a minuteman cheering and an eagle flying above. ‘Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh, long may it wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave’ Library of Congress photograph

The Birth of Old Glory. Artist Percy Morgan, circa 1917. Betsy Ross and two girls showing the U.S. Flag to George Washington and three other men. Library of Congress Photograph

The Birth of Old Glory. Artist Percy Morgan, circa 1917. Betsy Ross and two girls showing the U.S. Flag to George Washington and three other men. Library of Congress Photograph

U.S. Navy Sailors and Morning Colors. U.S. Navy photo

U.S. Navy Sailors and Morning Colors.
U.S. Navy photo

(April 5, 2011) Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) practice for the San Diego Padres opening day flag ceremony. Approximately 300 volunteers unfurled an 800-pound flag that covered the entire field. Bonhomme Richard is in dry dock for maintenance and upgrades through April. (U.S. Navy photo)

(April 5, 2011) Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) practice for the San Diego Padres opening day flag ceremony. Approximately 300 volunteers unfurled an 800-pound flag that covered the entire field. Bonhomme Richard is in dry dock for maintenance and upgrades through April. (U.S. Navy photo)

Pacific Ocean (April 11, 2006) - The American flag flies high as the Utility Landing Craft (LCU 1635) travels to unload excess ammunition off of the amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1). Tarawa is offloading her ammunition to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), which is preparing for a deployment to the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Apprentice Bryan Niegel

Pacific Ocean (April 11, 2006) – The American flag flies high as the Utility Landing Craft (LCU 1635) travels to unload excess ammunition off of the amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1). Tarawa is offloading her ammunition to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), which is preparing for a deployment to the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Apprentice Bryan Niegel

1956, USS Canberra is recommissioned as (CAG 2) at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pa. Originally to be named USS Pittsburgh, the ship was renamed to honor the loss of HMAS Canberra during the Battle of Savo Island.

USS Canberra (CAG 2) eight-inch guns of Turret # 2 firing, during a Vietnam War gunfire support mission, March 1967. Note the two outgoing projectiles in the upper right corner. Photographed by Chief Journalist R.D. Moeser.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

USS Canberra (CAG 2) eight-inch guns of Turret # 2 firing, during a Vietnam War gunfire support mission, March 1967. Note the two outgoing projectiles in the upper right corner. Photographed by Chief Journalist R.D. Moeser.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

USS Canberra (CAG 2) underway on 9 January 1961. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Canberra (CAG 2) underway on 9 January 1961. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower practicing his golf game, while on board USS Canberra (CAG 2) en route to Bermuda for a conference, 14 March 1957. The driving target and protective netting has been rigged on the main deck, just to starboard of the ship's Number Two eight-inch gun turret.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower practicing his golf game, while on board USS Canberra (CAG 2) en route to Bermuda for a conference, 14 March 1957. The driving target and protective netting has been rigged on the main deck, just to starboard of the ship’s Number Two eight-inch gun turret.

USS Canberra (CAG 2) crewmen sponge out a 8/55 gun of Turret # 2, following Vietnam War bombardment operations, March 1967. Photographed by Chief Journalist R.D. Moeser.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

USS Canberra (CAG 2) crewmen sponge out a 8/55 gun of Turret # 2, following Vietnam War bombardment operations, March 1967. Photographed by Chief Journalist R.D. Moeser.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

1939, USS Saratoga (CV 3) and USS Kanawha (AO 1) complete a two-day underway refueling test off the coast of southern Calif., demonstrating the feasibility of refueling carriers at sea where bases are not available.

Painting by Walter L. Greene, 1927, depicting the USS Saratoga launching aircraft. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph (# NH 42486-KN). Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC

Painting by Walter L. Greene, 1927, depicting the USS Saratoga launching aircraft.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph (# NH 42486-KN). Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC

USS Saratoga (CV 3) in the Gaillard Cut (Culebra Cut), Panama Canal, bound for the Pacific, on the morning of 7 February 1928. Naval Aviation Museum

USS Saratoga (CV 3) in the Gaillard Cut (Culebra Cut), Panama Canal, bound for the Pacific, on the morning of 7 February 1928.
Naval Aviation Museum

USS Kanawha (AO 1), probably at Noumea, New Caledonia, as seen from USS Wasp (CV 7) on the eve of the Guadalcanal-Tulagi invasion. Photo is dated 4 August 1942. Other ships present include, at right, USS San Juan (CL 54), an old "flush-deck" destroyer in center, and in the distance a heavy cruiser (left) and a transport (right). U.S. National Archives photo

USS Kanawha (AO 1), probably at Noumea, New Caledonia, as seen from USS Wasp (CV 7) on the eve of the Guadalcanal-Tulagi invasion. Photo is dated 4 August 1942. Other ships present include, at right, USS San Juan (CL 54), an old “flush-deck” destroyer in center, and in the distance a heavy cruiser (left) and a transport (right).
U.S. National Archives photo

USS Kanawha (AO 1), off Mare Island, California, 23 June 1915.  US Navy Photo Collection.

USS Kanawha (AO 1), off Mare Island, California, 23 June 1915. US Navy Photo Collection.

1881, the bark-rigged wooden steamship Jeannette sinks after she is crushed in an Arctic ice pack during the expedition to reach the North Pole through the Bering Strait. She departed in July 1879, entered the Arctic ice in September and is frozen in. The ship is eventually crushed and only 13 of her crew survive out of 33.

USS Jeannette (1879-1881). Composite photograph of the ship, and the officers of her Arctic expedition. Those shown are (clockwise from top center): Lieutenant Commander George W. DeLong, USN, Commanding Officer; Passed Assistant Surgeon James M. Ambler, USN; Chief Engineer George W. Melville, USN; Raymond Lee Newcomb, Naturalist and Astronomer; William Dunbar, Pilot; Jerome J. Collins, Correspondent for the "New York Herald"; Lieutenant John W. Danenhower, USN, Second Officer; and Lieutenant Charles W. Chipp, USN, Executive Officer. Donation of Captain T.S. Wilkinson, USN, 1934. USN Photo Collection.

USS Jeannette (1879-1881). Composite photograph of the ship, and the officers of her Arctic expedition. Those shown are (clockwise from top center): Lieutenant Commander George W. DeLong, USN, Commanding Officer; Passed Assistant Surgeon James M. Ambler, USN; Chief Engineer George W. Melville, USN; Raymond Lee Newcomb, Naturalist and Astronomer; William Dunbar, Pilot; Jerome J. Collins, Correspondent for the “New York Herald”; Lieutenant John W. Danenhower, USN, Second Officer; and Lieutenant Charles W. Chipp, USN, Executive Officer. Donation of Captain T.S. Wilkinson, USN, 1934. USN Photo Collection.

Jeannette Arctic exploring expedition, 1879-1881. "The Sinking of the Jeannette" Engraving by George T. Andrew after a design by M.J. Burns, copied from "The Voyage of the Jeannette ...", Volume II, page 575, edited by Emma DeLong, published in 1884. It depicts USS Jeannette after she was crushed by ice flows north of Siberia on 12 June 1881. She sank in the morning of 13 June in position 77 14'57" N, 154 58'45"E.  USN Photo Collection

Jeannette Arctic exploring expedition, 1879-1881. “The Sinking of the Jeannette” Engraving by George T. Andrew after a design by M.J. Burns, copied from “The Voyage of the Jeannette …”, Volume II, page 575, edited by Emma DeLong, published in 1884. It depicts USS Jeannette after she was crushed by ice flows north of Siberia on 12 June 1881. She sank in the morning of 13 June in position 77 14’57” N, 154 58’45″E.
USN Photo Collection

Jeannette Arctic exploring expedition, 1879-1881. Engraving of the expedition's survivors, based on a photograph taken at Yakutsk, Siberia, in 1882. Those present are (left to right, in front): Lauderback, Bartlett, William Coles, Seaman William F.C. Nindemann, and Mansen. (left to right, in middle): Chief Engineer George W. Melville and Lieutenant John W. Danenhower. (left to right, in back): Raymond Lee Newcomb (naturalist), Seaman Louis P. Noros, Henry Wilson, Tong Sing (cook), Anequin and H.W. Leach.  USN Photo Collection

Jeannette Arctic exploring expedition, 1879-1881. Engraving of the expedition’s survivors, based on a photograph taken at Yakutsk, Siberia, in 1882. Those present are (left to right, in front): Lauderback, Bartlett, William Coles, Seaman William F.C. Nindemann, and Mansen. (left to right, in middle): Chief Engineer George W. Melville and Lieutenant John W. Danenhower. (left to right, in back): Raymond Lee Newcomb (naturalist), Seaman Louis P. Noros, Henry Wilson, Tong Sing (cook), Anequin and H.W. Leach.
USN Photo Collection

Jeannette Arctic exploring expedition, 1879-1881. "Dragging the Boats over the Ice" Engraving by George T. Andrew after a design by M.J. Burns, copied from "The Voyage of the Jeannette ...", Volume II, page 629, edited by Emma DeLong, published in 1884. It depicts the crew of USS Jeannette hauling the ship's boats over the very rough Arctic ice north of Siberia in June-August 1881. Jeannette had been crushed in the ice and sunk on 12-13 June. USN Photo Collection

Jeannette Arctic exploring expedition, 1879-1881. “Dragging the Boats over the Ice” Engraving by George T. Andrew after a design by M.J. Burns, copied from “The Voyage of the Jeannette …”, Volume II, page 629, edited by Emma DeLong, published in 1884. It depicts the crew of USS Jeannette hauling the ship’s boats over the very rough Arctic ice north of Siberia in June-August 1881. Jeannette had been crushed in the ice and sunk on 12-13 June.
USN Photo Collection

1916, USS Pennsylvania (BB 38) is commissioned and is the lead ship of the Pennsylvania class of a U.S. Navy super-dreadnought battleship. During her service to our nation, she received eight battle stars and one Navy Unit Commendation.

Halftone reproduction of a photograph of the interior of the Pennsylvania's (BB 38) wheelhouse, showing a binnacle, steering wheel and an engine order telegraph. Taken circa 1916-1918, it was published in about 1919 by A.M. Simon, 324 E. 23rd St., New York City, as one of ten images in a "Souvenir Folder" concerning Pennsylvania.  USN Photo

Halftone reproduction of a photograph of the interior of the Pennsylvania’s (BB 38) wheelhouse, showing a binnacle, steering wheel and an engine order telegraph. Taken circa 1916-1918, it was published in about 1919 by A.M. Simon, 324 E. 23rd St., New York City, as one of ten images in a “Souvenir Folder” concerning Pennsylvania.
USN Photo

USS Pennsylvania (BB 38) view of the battleship's forward 14/45 guns and her forward superstructure, circa the early 1930s. USN Photo

USS Pennsylvania (BB 38) view of the battleship’s forward 14/45 guns and her forward superstructure, circa the early 1930s.
USN Photo

Humorist Will Rogers with crewmen of USS Pennsylvania (BB 38), on the battleship's after deck, 28 March 1928. USN Photo

Humorist Will Rogers with crewmen of USS Pennsylvania (BB 38), on the battleship’s after deck, 28 March 1928.
USN Photo

Pennsylvania (BB 38) leading two other battleships during maneuvers, during the 1920s. The other ships are two of these three: Colorado (BB 45), Maryland (BB 46) and West Virginia(BB 48). USNHC # NH 63346, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Pennsylvania (BB 38) leading two other battleships during maneuvers, during the 1920s. The other ships are two of these three: Colorado (BB 45), Maryland (BB 46) and West Virginia(BB 48). USNHC # NH 63346, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

June 1948 – The Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act provides for enlistment and appointment of women in the Navy Reserve.

WAVES take the oath. USN Photo.

WAVES take the oath.
USN Photo.

WAVES were first authorized to transfer to the ‪#‎USNavy‬. Pictured Front Row: YNC Wilma Juanita Marchal; YN2 Edna Earl Young; HM1 Ruth Flora. Back Row: AK1 K.L. Langdon, SK2 Frances Teresa Devaney, TE2 Doris Roberta Robertson. Also pictured Capt. Joy B. Hancock, director of the Women’s Reserve, Secretary of the Navy John Sullivan, and Rear Adm. L. Russell, Judge Advocate General. For more Navy Reserve history visit http://navyreservecentennial.com/

1944, one of our nation’s most famous battleships, USS Missouri (BB 63) is commissioned. USS Missouri was the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended WWII‬.

Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945  Adm. William F. Halsey and Vice Admiral John S. McCain on board USS Missouri (BB 63) shortly after the conclusion of the surrender ceremonies, 2 September 1945. Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN.

Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945
Adm. William F. Halsey and Vice Admiral John S. McCain on board USS Missouri (BB 63) shortly after the conclusion of the surrender ceremonies, 2 September 1945. Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN.

USS Missouri (BB 63) Sikorski HO3S-1 helicopter (Bureau # 122527) landing on the forward 16-inch gun turret, during the 1948 Midshipmen's cruise. Guard mail, ships' newspapers and personnel were exchanged via helicopter while the Midshipmen's cruise squadron was at sea. Most exchanges were made by hovering pick-up. The forward turret was used as a landing platform since the floatplane catapults on the ship's fantail prevented helicopters from operating there.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Missouri (BB 63) Sikorski HO3S-1 helicopter (Bureau # 122527) landing on the forward 16-inch gun turret, during the 1948 Midshipmen’s cruise. Guard mail, ships’ newspapers and personnel were exchanged via helicopter while the Midshipmen’s cruise squadron was at sea. Most exchanges were made by hovering pick-up. The forward turret was used as a landing platform since the floatplane catapults on the ship’s fantail prevented helicopters from operating there.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Missouri (BB-63) ship's crew and midshipmen celebrate the fourth anniversary of V-J Day, during the Midshipmen's cruise, 2 September 1949. They are gathered around the plaque that marks the spot where Japan surrendered on 2 September 1945. Turret Two is trained as it was during the surrender ceremonies.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Missouri (BB-63) ship’s crew and midshipmen celebrate the fourth anniversary of V-J Day, during the Midshipmen’s cruise, 2 September 1949. They are gathered around the plaque that marks the spot where Japan surrendered on 2 September 1945. Turret Two is trained as it was during the surrender ceremonies.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Missouri (BB 63) in port, circa 1948, with a motor launch full of U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen passing by in the foreground. U.S. Navy Photo Collection.

USS Missouri (BB 63) in port, circa 1948, with a motor launch full of U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen passing by in the foreground. U.S. Navy Photo Collection.

For the US Army’s 240th Birthday, here’s one example of One Team operating together: “The Tokyo Raid By the US Army B-25 Bombers,” April 1942 by John Charles Roach, Oil Painting on Canvas, WWII. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Gallery 2012-12-8)

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#WarriorWednesday

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Warrior Wednesday is a weekly feature dedicated to honoring and remembering the men and women, past and present, of the US Armed Forces and its Allies.

Marvin Shields

Marvin Shields

U.S. Navy Seabee Museum honors the first and only U.S. Navy Seabee ‬to receive the Medal of Honor Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin G. Shields. Shields was also the first ‪‎US Navy‬ ‪‎Sailor‬ to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam‬. (Link for more about Shields appears at the end of this post).

Midshipman Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., Daguerreotype. He graduated first in the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1854. USN Photo Collection.

Midshipman Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., Daguerreotype. He graduated first in the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1854. USN Photo Collection.

1854, the first formal graduation exercises are held at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Previous classes had graduated without a ceremony. Rear Adm. Thomas O. Selfridge and Rear Adm. Joseph N. Miller, are two of the six graduates that year.

Eight members of the Class of 1861, including Midshipman George M. Bache (3rd from left). Among the others present are (based on other photos) are: Midshipman William F. Stewart (bearded, 2nd from left); Midshipman John F. McGlensey (4th from right); and Midshipman Richard F. Armstrong (2nd from right). Collection of Commander George M. Bache. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

Eight members of the Class of 1861, including Midshipman George M. Bache (3rd from left). Among the others present are (based on other photos) are: Midshipman William F. Stewart (bearded, 2nd from left); Midshipman John F. McGlensey (4th from right); and Midshipman Richard F. Armstrong (2nd from right). Collection of Commander George M. Bache. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. Photograph of the “Old Quarters” with the Recitation Hall on the extreme left, circa the 1860s, possibly taken by Fischer and Brothers., Baltimore. Collection of Commander George M. Bache.

U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. Photograph of the “Old Quarters” with the Recitation Hall on the extreme left, circa the 1860s, possibly taken by Fischer and Brothers., Baltimore. Collection of Commander George M. Bache.

U.S. Naval Academy, as it is today.

U.S. Naval Academy, as it is today.

1869, Secretary of the Navy Adolph E. Borie, ordered the construction of the first torpedo station on Goat Island, Newport, Rhode Island. During the establishment, the station experimented with torpedoes and trained sailors in the use technology of the weapons. Functions of the station were incorporated in the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

Mark VII Bliss-Leavitt Torpedo, outside Torpedo Factory on Goat Island, Newport, Rhode Island, August 1913. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Mark VII Bliss-Leavitt Torpedo, outside Torpedo Factory on Goat Island, Newport, Rhode Island, August 1913. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

MARK III Whitehead Torpedo, fired from East Dock, Goat Island, 1894. USS Cushing (TB #1) is in the background. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

MARK III Whitehead Torpedo, fired from East Dock, Goat Island, 1894. USS Cushing (TB #1) is in the background. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Tug Leyden and three early torpedo boats. Torpedo Station's Ferry Launch at East Dock on Goat Island, 1899. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Tug Leyden and three early torpedo boats. Torpedo Station’s Ferry Launch at East Dock on Goat Island, 1899. Copied from an original negative held by Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, Rhode Island.

Soldiers assigned to various units throughout Europe, rappel from a UH-60 Black Hawk during an air assault course at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, June 9.  Markus Rauchenberger/Army

Soldiers assigned to various units throughout Europe, rappel from a UH-60 Black Hawk during an air assault course at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, June 9. Markus Rauchenberger/Army

Sailors assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 Explosive Ordnance Detachment recover the test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) on June 8 off the coast of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.  John Hageman/Navy

Sailors assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 Explosive Ordnance Detachment recover the test vehicle for NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) on June 8 off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. John Hageman/Navy

A Marine assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conducts a nighttime high altitude high opening (HAHO) jump during category 3 sustainment training in Louisburg, N.C., June 5.  Cpl. Andre Dakis/Marine Corps

A Marine assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conducts a nighttime high altitude high opening (HAHO) jump during category 3 sustainment training in Louisburg, N.C., June 5. Cpl. Andre Dakis/Marine Corps

Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey greets recipient Specialist Spencer Jacobsen of the Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Calvary Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) of Fort Campbell in Kentucky, after a Purple Heart ceremony June 9 at George Washington's Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey greets recipient Specialist Spencer Jacobsen of the Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Calvary Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) of Fort Campbell in Kentucky, after a Purple Heart ceremony June 9 at George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit sprint to an MV-22B Osprey aircraft during a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) exercise, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., June, 5.  Cpl. Shawn Valosin/Marine Corps

Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit sprint to an MV-22B Osprey aircraft during a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) exercise, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., June, 5. Cpl. Shawn Valosin/Marine Corps

Army Secretary John McHugh lays a wreath at George Washington's tomb June 9 at Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The U.S. Army held celebration for its 240th birthday.

Army Secretary John McHugh lays a wreath at George Washington’s tomb June 9 at Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The U.S. Army held celebration for its 240th birthday.

Navy Capt. William Koyama, commander of Carrier Air Wing 5, prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in an F/A-18E Super Hornet after completing his 4000th flight hour near Guam, June 8. The Super Hornet is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron.  Bryan Mai/Navy

Navy Capt. William Koyama, commander of Carrier Air Wing 5, prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington in an F/A-18E Super Hornet after completing his 4000th flight hour near Guam, June 8. The Super Hornet is assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron. Bryan Mai/Navy

Allied leaders salute the 9th Air Force Memorial, which commemorates fallen U.S. service members, in Picauville, France, June 4, during a D-Day ceremony.  Nicole Sikorski/Air Force

Allied leaders salute the 9th Air Force Memorial, which commemorates fallen U.S. service members, in Picauville, France, June 4, during a D-Day ceremony. Nicole Sikorski/Air Force

Bryan County High School, Ga., JROTC cadet Dikenya Dukes, a rising 11th grader, climbs through a wall on an obstacle course as her classmate and "battle buddy" Mitchell Miller watches, June 9, at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. The Savannah Army post is hosting about 200 JROTC cadets from southeast Georgia high schools this week during its Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge Summer Camp led by the Hunter-based 6th ROTC Brigade.  Corey Dickstein/Savannah Morning News

Bryan County High School, Ga., JROTC cadet Dikenya Dukes, a rising 11th grader, climbs through a wall on an obstacle course as her classmate and “battle buddy” Mitchell Miller watches, June 9, at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. The Savannah Army post is hosting about 200 JROTC cadets from southeast Georgia high schools this week during its Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge Summer Camp led by the Hunter-based 6th ROTC Brigade. Corey Dickstein/Savannah Morning News

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer throws the first pitch of the 3rd annual Amputee Warrior Softball Classic June 6, at Prince George's Stadium in Bowie, Md.  Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Air Force

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer throws the first pitch of the 3rd annual Amputee Warrior Softball Classic June 6, at Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, Md. Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Air Force

Marines and sailors with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, escort a simulated isolated person onto an MV-22 Osprey during a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel training exercise on May 29 in Southwest Asia.   Lance Cpl. Garrett White/Marine Corps

Marines and sailors with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, escort a simulated isolated person onto an MV-22 Osprey during a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel training exercise on May 29 in Southwest Asia. Lance Cpl. Garrett White/Marine Corps

George Shenkle, World War II veteran and former Army Soldier with the Easy Company, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, reacts as soldiers parachute over the historic La Fiere drop zone near Sainte Mere Eglise, Normandy, France, on Sunday to commemorate the 71st Anniversary of D-Day.   Master Sgt. Brian Bahret/Air Force

George Shenkle, World War II veteran and former Army Soldier with the Easy Company, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, reacts as soldiers parachute over the historic La Fiere drop zone near Sainte Mere Eglise, Normandy, France, on Sunday to commemorate the 71st Anniversary of D-Day. Master Sgt. Brian Bahret/Air Force

Marine Corps Hospital Corpsman Melissa Irvin, a 1st Dental Battalion dental corpsman, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., carries a box of medical supplies to Unggai Primary School, where medical professionals set up during Pacific Angel 15-4 at Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, on May 29.  Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris/Air Force

Marine Corps Hospital Corpsman Melissa Irvin, a 1st Dental Battalion dental corpsman, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., carries a box of medical supplies to Unggai Primary School, where medical professionals set up during Pacific Angel 15-4 at Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, on May 29. Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris/Air Force

Sailors man the rails as the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson returns to homeport on Thursday at Naval Air Station North Island.   MC3 Jacob G. Kaucher/Navy

Sailors man the rails as the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson returns to homeport on Thursday at Naval Air Station North Island. MC3 Jacob G. Kaucher/Navy

Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Worley examines a puppy during a Continuing Promise 2015 veterinary event in Colon, Panama, on Tuesday.   Andrew Schneider/Navy

Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Worley examines a puppy during a Continuing Promise 2015 veterinary event in Colon, Panama, on Tuesday. Andrew Schneider/Navy

Visitors stand among a display of 120 American flags, representing the 120 Wyoming soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who died during the Vietnam War, at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery on Sunday in Evansville, Wyo.   Alan Rogers/The Casper Star-Tribune

Visitors stand among a display of 120 American flags, representing the 120 Wyoming soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who died during the Vietnam War, at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery on Sunday in Evansville, Wyo. Alan Rogers/The Casper Star-Tribune

Soldiers from NATO countries attend an opening ceremony of military exercise Saber Strike 2015 at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade about 38 miles north of Vilnius, Lithuania, on Monday.  Mindaugas Kulbis

Soldiers from NATO countries attend an opening ceremony of military exercise Saber Strike 2015 at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade about 38 miles north of Vilnius, Lithuania, on Monday. Mindaugas Kulbis

On the Web:

Ceremony to mark 50th anniversary of Seabee’s heroism

HONORING SHIELDS, SEABEE HISTORY

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#MilitaryMonday

Military thank you

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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 Watercolor, 1944 88-199-FI 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.

The End of Mulberry “A”
Dwight C. Shepler #161
Watercolor, 1944
88-199-FI
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.

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 Watercolor, 1944 88-199-EN 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.

Assault Wave Cox’n
Dwight C. Shepler #141a
Watercolor, 1944
88-199-EN
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.

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 88-199-EU 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.

The Tough Beach
Dwight C. Shepler #147
Watercolor, June 1944
88-199-EU
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.

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)

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.

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)

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

“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

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

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. 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.

US Naval Air Station, Pauillac, France, Barracks, Warehouses, and offices, circa WWI. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, US Naval Air Stations, Overseas.

Crash

D-Day at 71: In Their Own Words

Saturday, June 6, is the 71st anniversary of the US, British, Canadian and Australian invasion of Normandy, France.

Saturday, June 6, is the 71st anniversary of the US, British, Canadian and Australian invasion of Normandy, France.

“The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.”

— Excerpt from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s message to Normandy invasion troops the night before D-Day.

By sea and by air they descended on a 50-mile stretch of German-fortified French coastline, 71 years ago today.

Wearing the uniforms of a dozen Allied nations, some 175,000 young men risked it all in one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history. That first day alone, an estimated 46,000 would never see home again. But such was the cost of freedom.

World War II veteran Dick Ramsey who was a 19-year-old gunner on the USS Nevada off the shore of Utah beach on D-Day.

World War II veteran Dick Ramsey who was a 19-year-old gunner on the USS Nevada off the shore of Utah beach on D-Day.

The Battle of Normandy would be the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe. On Aug. 25, Paris was liberated. The following spring, Germany surrendered. Eyewitness accounts of D-Day grow ever more precious, with an estimated 500-plus World War II veterans dying every day.

World War II veteran Alexander Eckmann who participated in the D-Day invasion.

World War II veteran Alexander Eckmann who participated in the D-Day invasion.

For the 70th anniversary of the invasion in 2014, writers and historians gathered the memories of 10 men who were there, from bombardiers to seamen to privates trapped on those beaches burnished in memory: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

Here are some of their stories:

‘You were scared stiff to move’ 

A child of the Bronx who joined the National Guard in the fall of 1940, when he was still 15 years old, Martin Painkin landed on Omaha Beach early on the morning of D-Day with the Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion. He received a Silver Star for gallantry for his actions June 6-9 and a Purple Heart for wounds received in action on June 7. Now 89, living in Riviera Beach, he recalled those days with writer Staci Sturrock.

“It was like a slaughter. It really was,” says Martin Painkin from his wheelchair at the VA’s Community Living Center.

‘There were literally thousands of bodies’

A state champion swimmer from Hammond, Ind., Walter Gumula was an 18-year-old Navy frogman among the first waves of troops landing on Omaha Beach on June 6. Now 88, and living in Port Salerno, he recounted his D-Day exploits.

Their mission was secret.

‘Nobody learns anything’

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Lenny Scatturo was a 21-year-old gunner’s mate third class on the USS Ancon, flagship for the forces that landed on Omaha Beach. Today, at 91, he lives in West Palm Beach.

From the deck of his landing craft control boat, Lenny Scatturo watched helplessly as 10 amphibious tanks succumbed to the six-foot swells of the English Channel, long before they neared Omaha Beach.

‘I wonder how those guys lived through D-Day’

A Hoboken, N.J., native, Charlie Meyer was a B-17 bombardier with the 388th Bomb Group. He completed 34 missions over France and Germany in 1944, including two on D-Day. Now 95, and living in Greenacres;

The B-17 crew received strict orders before departing Knettishall, England, in the pre-dawn darkness of D-Day: “No aborts on this mission.”

‘There was a lot of sweat, a lot of cursing’

Dick Ramsey was a 19-year-old Navy seaman on the USS Nevada, which bombarded German installations at Utah beach. Today, the 89-year-old Ramsey lives in Port St. Lucie, where he shared his memories.

Dick Ramsey’s job at Utah beach was delivering hot steel retribution.

‘I was struck by the smell of dead bodies’

Solis ‘Sol’ Kaslow was a 19-year-old from Philadelphia, serving as a quartermaster aboard PT 508 on D-Day. Now 89, and living in Palm Beach Gardens, he talked about his memories.

Hours before their most important mission began, the 13 men aboard PT 508 bowed their heads and talked to God.

‘A shock to see Americans floating face up’

A Long Island native, Alexander “Al” Eckmann was a sergeant in U.S. Army counterintelligence on D-Day. He was assigned to land on Utah Beach with the VII Corps of the Army. Now 89, and living in Juno Beach.

Sgt. Al Eckmann dangles from a rope ladder on the side of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, trying to focus on the spotter’s voice through deafening blasts from the nearby USS Texas.

‘What we saw that day you will never see again’

Kal Lewis was drafted the day he graduated from high school in Passaic, N.J. At 19, he was among the waves of combat engineers who invaded Utah beach. The youngest of 14 children, he was one of five brothers who served in World War II. At 89, he lives in Wellington.:

German shells were exploding overhead as 19-year-old Kal Lewis stepped off the landing craft and into rough water up to his neck.

‘There were bodies floating everywhere’

On D-Day, John Edmunds was 19 years old, a seaman in the Royal Canadian Navy from Burlington, Ontario. His mission: A helmsman on an escort ship leading cargo ships to the Normandy shore of Juno Beach. Today, 89, a retiree in West Palm Beach.

Seaman John Edmunds of the Royal Canadian Navy finds only a cloudless day and clear sea as he stands at the helm of the armored escort ship HMCS Drumheller, his captain barking down orders from the bridge: “Port, two degrees!”

‘It was difficult firing on our country’

Parisian Rene Cerisoles served on a French light cruiser under U.S. command off Omaha Beach. Now 89, and living in Palm Beach Gardens.

As the Montcalm pulled into position off Omaha Beach that June morning in 1944, chief petty officer Rene Cerisoles found himself looking at a familiar shoreline.

Map of the air plan for the Allied landing in Normandy.

Map of the air plan for the Allied landing in Normandy.

71 years ago, more than 150,000 brave men participated in the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy. They were American, they were Canadian, they were British; and they were united under one goal — to save Europe.

Nearly 5,000 men lost their lives that day, their sacrifice helped defeat the Nazis and is seared in the hearts of millions. Now, seven decades later, people will look back at that momentous day that marked the beginning of the end of World War II.

Dday

Thanks to all the Allies, men and women, officer and enlisted, the buried and the survivors. God bless them all.

Crash

#DDay71: June 5, 1944

DDay Normandy

‪#‎HonorTheFallen‬ ‪#‎HonorTheSurvivors‬ ‪#‎RememberDDay‬ #DDay71

June 5th, 1944 – the Allies prepare for D-Day.

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On this day in 1944, more than 1,000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries placed at the Normandy assault area, while 3,000 Allied ships cross the English Channel in preparation for the invasion of Normandy — D-Day.

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The day of the invasion of occupied France had been postponed repeatedly since May, mostly because of bad weather and the enormous tactical obstacles involved. Finally, despite less than ideal weather conditions—or perhaps because of them—General Eisenhower decided on June 5 to set the next day as D-Day, the launch of the largest amphibious operation in history.

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Ike knew that the Germans would be expecting postponements beyond the sixth, precisely because weather conditions were still poor….

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When Evil Lost: V-E Day at 70 – A Look Back in Photos

Soldiers from the British Women's Royal Army Corps celebrate the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945, at Trafalgar Square in London. It is the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, when allied forces defeated Nazi Germany in World War II.  R. J. Salmon, Getty Images

Soldiers from the British Women’s Royal Army Corps celebrate the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945, at Trafalgar Square in London. It is the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, when allied forces defeated Nazi Germany in World War II. R. J. Salmon, Getty Images

Parisians march through the Arc de Triomphe jubilantly waving flags of the Allied Nations as they celebrate the end of World War II on May 8, 1945. German military leaders signed an unconditional surrender in Reims, France, on May 7.  Associated Press

Parisians march through the Arc de Triomphe jubilantly waving flags of the Allied Nations as they celebrate the end of World War II on May 8, 1945. German military leaders signed an unconditional surrender in Reims, France, on May 7. Associated Press

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, center, waves to crowds gathered in front of Whitehall in London.  Keystone

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, center, waves to crowds gathered in front of Whitehall in London. Keystone

People ride on a van loaded with beer at Piccadilly Circus in London.  Keystone

People ride on a van loaded with beer at Piccadilly Circus in London. Keystone

People gather around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on VE Day.  AP

People gather around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on VE Day. AP

People celebrate at Times Square and 42nd Street in New York City.  Matty Zimmerman, AP

People celebrate at Times Square and 42nd Street in New York City. Matty Zimmerman, AP

A British sergeant is carried by the crowd as they celebrate the end of World War II in Europe in Moscow.  Keystone

A British sergeant is carried by the crowd as they celebrate the end of World War II in Europe in Moscow. Keystone

People celebrate outside the U.S. and British embassies in Lisbon, Portugal. The jubilant crowds celebrated for two days.  AP

People celebrate outside the U.S. and British embassies in Lisbon, Portugal. The jubilant crowds celebrated for two days. AP

Crowds of civilians, British and Allied troops wave and cheer as Prime Minister Winston Churchill, second balcony from left, and members of the Cabinet appear at Whitehall in London.  AP

Crowds of civilians, British and Allied troops wave and cheer as Prime Minister Winston Churchill, second balcony from left, and members of the Cabinet appear at Whitehall in London. AP

A damaged bust of German dictator Adolf Hitler lies in the ruins of the Chancellery in Berlin.  Reg Speller, Fox Photos, via Getty Images

A damaged bust of German dictator Adolf Hitler lies in the ruins of the Chancellery in Berlin. Reg Speller, Fox Photos, via Getty Images

When the second British Army took the Prison camp at Westertinke near Bremen, which had been the only naval prison camp on May 8, 1945 in Germany, they found that many American and Allied prisoners had been moved in by the retreating Germans form camps farther to the west.   AP

When the second British Army took the Prison camp at Westertinke near Bremen, which had been the only naval prison camp on May 8, 1945 in Germany, they found that many American and Allied prisoners had been moved in by the retreating Germans form camps farther to the west. AP

Happy crowds gather round the Rond-Point on the Champs-Elysees, Paris, on VE Day, May 8, 1945, to celebrate the announcement of Germany's unconditional surrender.  Henry L. Griffin, AP

Happy crowds gather round the Rond-Point on the Champs-Elysees, Paris, on VE Day, May 8, 1945, to celebrate the announcement of Germany’s unconditional surrender. Henry L. Griffin, AP

Enthusiastic Danish crowds greeted the British column on its arrival in Copenhagen, May 8, 1945.  AP

Enthusiastic Danish crowds greeted the British column on its arrival in Copenhagen, May 8, 1945. AP

With the final capitulation of the German armed forces Denmark once again celebrates her freedom. Riding in horse-drawn vehicles, on bicycles and on foot, Nazis filed out of Copenhagen to surrender to the nearest British forces. Here Germans crowd onto a miniature tank carrying a trailer on their way to surrender to British troops, May 8, 1945.   AP

With the final capitulation of the German armed forces Denmark once again celebrates her freedom. Riding in horse-drawn vehicles, on bicycles and on foot, Nazis filed out of Copenhagen to surrender to the nearest British forces. Here Germans crowd onto a miniature tank carrying a trailer on their way to surrender to British troops, May 8, 1945. AP

Video: VE at 70: Picking Up the Pieces –

Even with the defeat of Nazi Germany, there were daunting concerns still facing the world.

Europe was in shambles, it needed to be rebuilt – it needed money, resources, clean water, food, supplies, there were countless German POWs to process before allowing them to return home while also weeding out war criminals (the SS were of major concern), and millions of Nazi camp survivors needed a new start.

Plus there were also the tasks of implementing de-nazification and dividing Germany between America, Britain, France and Russia as agreed on by Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta conference (sometimes called the Crimea Conference and code-named the Argonaut Conference) held February 4–11, 1945.

There was also Japan.  The war with Imperial Japan still raged on in the Pacific and would continue for another three months.

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#WarriorWednesday: The Navy-Army Nurses Act

“Serve with Pride and Patriotism” Artwork by Lloyd Nolan. Navy Recruiting Aids Facility Poster. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 67041

“Serve with Pride and Patriotism” Artwork by Lloyd Nolan. Navy Recruiting Aids Facility Poster. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 67041

It’s 1947 and Congress passes Army-Navy Nurses Act, giving Navy Nurse Corps members commissioned rank. The U.S. Navy Nurse Corps volunteered on board ‪‎US Navy‬ ships beforehand, such as during the Civil War on board USS Red Rover and during the Spanish-American War on board USS Solace (AH 2).

Navy Nurses pictured on board USS Solace (AH-5) in June 1945. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, Ships.

Navy Nurses pictured on board USS Solace (AH-5) in June 1945. NHHC Photograph Collection, L-File, Ships.

A collection of images depicts the past and present of retired U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Omilio Halder Jensen, a World War II flight nurse, compiled in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps in Denver, Colo., May 13, 2008. Illustration by Lieutenant Kris Hooper. DOD Still Media Photograph: 080513-N-4965H-001.

A collection of images depicts the past and present of retired U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Omilio Halder Jensen, a World War II flight nurse, compiled in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps in Denver, Colo., May 13, 2008. Illustration by Lieutenant Kris Hooper. DOD Still Media Photograph: 080513-N-4965H-001.

Navy Nurses. At the U.S. Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914. They are wearing the indoor duty uniform. Courtesy of the Nursing Division, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, September 1962. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 52970.

Navy Nurses. At the U.S. Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914. They are wearing the indoor duty uniform. Courtesy of the Nursing Division, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, September 1962. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 52970.

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#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)

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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.

Saturday Reader: WWII Aircraft Carrier USS Independence Found Intact on Ocean Floor

The USS Independence was converted from a cruiser to an aircraft carrier. The 623 foot long flattop was 109 in width, drew 26-feet of water and could run and 31 knots full speed. Some 30 fighters and bombers flew off her deck. Photo US Archives

The USS Independence was converted from a cruiser to an aircraft carrier. The 623 foot long flattop was 109 in width, drew 26-feet of water and could run and 31 knots full speed. Some 30 fighters and bombers flew off her deck. Photo US Archives

A World War II-era aircraft carrier was found on the ocean floor near California’s Farallon Islands and it’s looking great.

Despite being underwater since 1951, the USS Independence CVL-22 is “amazingly intact,” said officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Sonar images even show what could be an airplane sitting in the carrier’s hangar bay.

USS Indy pic and sonar image

“After 64 years on the seafloor, Independence sits on the bottom as if ready to launch its planes,” James Delgado, maritime heritage director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, said in a statement. “This ship fought a long, hard war in the Pacific and after the war was subjected to two atomic blasts that ripped through the ship.”

The USS Independence CVL-22 saw service in the Pacific from 1943-1945, but its fate was sealed when it became one of the 90 ships to take part in the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests. Blasted by heat and radiation, the ship was taken to San Francisco by the U.S. Navy for decontamination studies. In 1951, it was finally towed out to sea for scuttling.

The flight deck of the USS Independence CVL-22 in 1943 (left) and Boeing’s autonomous underwater vehicle "Echo Ranger" (right) being towed out to sea.

The flight deck of the USS Independence CVL-22 in 1943 (left) and Boeing’s autonomous underwater vehicle “Echo Ranger” (right) being towed out to sea.

Last month, a team from NOAA and Boeing investigated a site 30 miles off the Northern California coast where an earlier survey indicated the ship could be located. The Independence was there, 2,600 feet below the surface of ocean in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary near San Francisco.

Boeing's EchoRanger brings back 3D images of WWII aircraft carrier USS Independence

Boeing’s EchoRanger brings back 3D images of WWII aircraft carrier USS Independence

Using an 18.5-foot-long autonomous underwater vehicle named Echo Ranger, the team created a 3-D sonar map of the ship, which was sitting upright on the ocean floor. While there are a few “gaping holes” in its hangar bays, much of the USS Independence CVL-22 is intact. Researchers estimate there are around 300 wrecks in the surrounding area.

On the Web: 

USS Independence (CVL-22)

USS Independence CVL-22 Official Site

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