#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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#WarriorWednesday #MilitaryAppreciationMonth: Duty, Honor, Courage, Sacrifice, Remember, Honor

Honoring Their Own May 2011: U.S. Navy, United States Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard personnel unfurl an American flag on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at a Memorial Day ceremony during Fleet Week New York. Fleet Week has been New York City’s celebration of the sea services since 1984 and is an opportunity for citizens of New York and the surrounding area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and see firsthand the capabilities of today’s maritime services.  Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew R. White.

Honoring Their Own
May 2011: U.S. Navy, United States Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard personnel unfurl an American flag on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at a Memorial Day ceremony during Fleet Week New York. Fleet Week has been New York City’s celebration of the sea services since 1984 and is an opportunity for citizens of New York and the surrounding area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and see firsthand the capabilities of today’s maritime services.
Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew R. White.

The Heritage of the Military Funeral and Burial at Sea

Honoring the deceased is a centuries-old practice that includes many traditions across cultures. The customs and traditions behind military funerals and burial at sea date as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. In the Navy’s culture, as  the final honor to give to shipmates, traditions are employed that not only signify the service of the deceased, but also display our nation’s commitment to their legacy.

Atlantic Ocean, December 6, 2014. Capt. John Carter, commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) salutes during a burial-at-sea.  Bataan is conducting an underway evolution in preparation for an upcoming planned maintenance availability.  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Julie Matyascik

Atlantic Ocean, December 6, 2014.
Capt. John Carter, commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) salutes during a burial-at-sea. Bataan is conducting an underway evolution in preparation for an upcoming planned maintenance availability.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Julie Matyascik

Reversal of Rank

In Royal Connell and William Mack’s “Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions,”it is noted that the reversal of rank at military funerals is modeled after an ancient Roman custom of “reversing all rank and position when celebrating the feast of Saturn,”showing that, at death, all are equal. This is signified by positioning the honorary pallbearers and all other mourners, if practicable, in reverse order of rank.

Firing Three Volleys

The custom of firing three volleys at funerals comes from an old superstition. It was once thought that evil spirits escape from the hearts of the deceased, so shots are fired to drive away those evil spirits. “The number three has long had a mystical significance,”write Connell and Mack. They note that in Roman funeral rites, earth was cast three times into a grave, mourners called the dead three times by name, and the Latin word vale, meaning “farewell,”was spoken three times as they left the tomb. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also notes that the firing of three volleys “can be traced to the European dynastic wars when fighting was halted to remove the dead and wounded.”The funeral volley should not be mistaken for the twenty-one gun salute which is fired for the U.S. President, other heads of state, Washington’s birthday, and the Fourth of July. At Navy military funerals today, three volleys are fired by a firing detail of seven riflemen during the funeral of active duty personnel, Medal of Honor recipients, and retirees just before the sounding of taps.

Pacific Ocean, August 19, 2007. US Navy flag bearers bow their heads in prayer during a burial at sea ceremony aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Lincoln conducted the solemn and sacred tradition of burial at sea for 11 former service members during her transit home to Everett, Washington. Lincoln completed carrier qualifications, Tailored Ship's Training Availability and Final Evaluation Problem during a scheduled work-up off the coast of Southern California.  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James R. Evans.

Pacific Ocean, August 19, 2007.
US Navy flag bearers bow their heads in prayer during a burial at sea ceremony aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Lincoln conducted the solemn and sacred tradition of burial at sea for 11 former service members during her transit home to Everett, Washington. Lincoln completed carrier qualifications, Tailored Ship’s Training Availability and Final Evaluation Problem during a scheduled work-up off the coast of Southern California.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James R. Evans.

Taps

The sounding of taps is perhaps one of the most moving and well known elements of military funerals. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, taps originated from the French final call, “L’Extinction des feux,”to extinguish the lights. This “lights out”bugle call was used by the U.S. Army infantry during the Civil War, but in 1862 Gen. Daniel Adams Butterfield suggested a revision of the French tune, and we now have the 24-note bugle call we hear today. Taps was first played at a military funeral in Virginia when Union Capt. John Tidball ordered it to be played as a substitute to the traditional three rifle volleys so as not to reveal the battery’s position to the nearby enemy. At Navy military funerals today, taps is played by a military bugler after the firing of three volleys and just before the flag is folded.

The National Ensign

The National Ensign plays a very special role in today’s military funeral traditions. The custom of placing a flag over the body of a fallen soldier has been recorded in the days before the American Revolution when a private in the British Guards by the name of Stephen Graham wrote that the Union Jack was laid upon the body of a fallen soldier who died in the service of the State to show that the State “takes the responsibility of what it ordered him to do as a solider.”Today, this custom is practiced in American military funerals as a way to honor the service of the deceased veteran. The National Ensign is draped over the casket so the union blue field is at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased. After Taps is sounded, the body bearers fold the flag 13 times—representing the 13 original colonies—into a triangle, emblematic of the tri-cornered hat word by the Patriots of the American Revolution. When folded, only the blue field with stars should be visible. The flag is then presented to the next of kin or other appropriate family member.

Arabian Sea, April 9, 2011. Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) prepare to cast ashes overboard during a burial at sea.  Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 are conducting close-air support missions in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jesse L. Gonzalez.

Arabian Sea, April 9, 2011.
Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) prepare to cast ashes overboard during a burial at sea.
Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 are conducting close-air support missions in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jesse L. Gonzalez.

Burial at Sea

Another type of ceremony for honoring the deceased is the burial at sea (also called the “at sea disposition”) performed on a U.S. Navy vessel. According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, the tradition of burial at sea is one that dates back to ancient times and has been a practice for as long as people have gone to sea. The body was sewn into a weighted sailcloth and in very old custom, the last stitch was taken through the nose of the deceased. The body was then sent over the side, usually with an appropriate religious ceremony.

During World War II, many burials at sea took place when naval forces operated at sea for months at a time. Today, active duty service members, honorably discharged retirees, veterans, U.S. civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command, and dependent family members of active duty, retirees, and veterans are eligible for at sea disposition.

The ceremony for burial at sea is conducted in a similar manner to that of shore funerals, with three volleys fired, the sounding of taps, and the closing of colors. The casket or urn is slid overboard into the sea after the committal is read, or, if requested, the cremated remains are scattered into the sea. Flowers or wreaths are also allowed to slide overboard or tossed into the sea by a flag bearer.

Because the committal ceremony is performed while a ship is deployed, family members are not permitted to attend burials at sea. So, within 10 days after committal, the commanding officer of the ship will mail a letter giving the date and time of committal and include any photographs or video of the ceremony, the commemorative flag, and a chart showing where the burial took place.

For many centuries, funerals have been a way to give our final respects to our loved ones. The customs and traditions that we share during the ceremony make it all the more meaningful.

HonoringTheFallen

World War II Unknown Serviceman

Ceremonies for the selection of the World War II Unknown Serviceman were conducted on board USS Canberra (CAG 2) on May 26, 1958. Medal of Honor recipient Hospitalman William R. Charette, selected the Unknown Serviceman. After the ceremonies, the ‪‎WWII‬ Unknown Serviceman was transported for interment at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day‬, which fell on May 31.

Private First Class Frank Calvin, USMC, places the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Private Calvin is himself the recipient of two Navy Crosses, the Purple Heart, and the Presidential Unit Citation, circa 1943.

Private First Class Frank Calvin, USMC, places the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Private Calvin is himself the recipient of two Navy Crosses, the Purple Heart, and the Presidential Unit Citation, circa 1943.

Unknown Servicemen of World War II and the Korean War. Crewmen of USS Boston (CAG 1) render honors as the first casket is transferred to USS Canberra (CAG-2), prior to ceremonies on board Canberra to select the Unknown Serviceman of World War II. Two more caskets are still on board Boston, visible just aft of the starboard whaleboat davits. The ceremonies took place off the Virginia Capes on 26 May 1958. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

Unknown Servicemen of World War II and the Korean War. Crewmen of USS Boston (CAG 1) render honors as the first casket is transferred to USS Canberra (CAG-2), prior to ceremonies on board Canberra to select the Unknown Serviceman of World War II. Two more caskets are still on board Boston, visible just aft of the starboard whaleboat davits. The ceremonies took place off the Virginia Capes on 26 May 1958. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

Unknown Servicemen of World War II and the Korean War. Hospitalman 1st Class William R. Charette, who received the Medal of Honor for Korean War heroism, selects the Unknown Serviceman of World War II, during ceremonies on board USS Canberra (CAG-2) off the Virginia Capes on 26 May 1958. The other World War II Unknown Serviceman candidate's casket is at left, with the Unknown Serviceman of the Korean War in the middle. The other Unknown Serviceman from WWII not chose was given a solemn burial at sea. After completion of the selection ceremonies, the World War II and Korean War Unknown Servicemen were carried to Washington, D.C., for burial at Arlington Cemetery. Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Note: At that time, Hospitalman 1st Class William R. Charette was the Navy's only active-duty Medal of Honor recipient.

Unknown Servicemen of World War II and the Korean War. Hospitalman 1st Class William R. Charette, who received the Medal of Honor for Korean War heroism, selects the Unknown Serviceman of World War II, during ceremonies on board USS Canberra (CAG-2) off the Virginia Capes on 26 May 1958. The other World War II Unknown Serviceman candidate’s casket is at left, with the Unknown Serviceman of the Korean War in the middle. The other Unknown Serviceman from WWII not chose was given a solemn burial at sea. After completion of the selection ceremonies, the World War II and Korean War Unknown Servicemen were carried to Washington, D.C., for burial at Arlington Cemetery. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.
Note: At that time, Hospitalman 1st Class William R. Charette was the Navy’s only active-duty Medal of Honor recipient.

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Above photo: An Army member of the joint services casket team carries the folded U.S. flag from the casket of the Unknown Serviceman of the Vietnam Era to President Ronald Reagan, left, during the interment ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. Photographed by Mickey Sanborn, 28 May 1984.

The Unknown service member from the Vietnam War was designated by Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Allan Jay Kellogg Jr. during a ceremony at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, May 17, 1984. The Vietnam Unknown was transported aboard the USS Brewton to Alameda Naval Base, Calif. The remains were sent to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., May 24. The Vietnam Unknown arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., the next day.

Many Vietnam veterans and President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan visited the Vietnam Unknown in the U.S. Capitol. An Army caisson carried the Vietnam Unknown from the Capitol to the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 28, 1984. President Reagan presided over the funeral, and presented the Medal of Honor to the Vietnam Unknown.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower poses with three men to whom he has just presented the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in Korean War combat action, at the White House, Washington, D.C., 12 January 1954. Those who received the medal are (from left to right): First Lieutenant Edward R. Schowalter, Jr., U.S. Army, honored for his actions near Kumhwa, Korea, on 14 October 1952; Private First Class Ernest E. West, U.S. Army, honored for his actions near Sataeri, Korea, on 12 October 1952; and Hospital Corpsman Third Class William R. Charette, U.S. Navy, honored for his actions in Korea on 17 March 1953. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower poses with three men to whom he has just presented the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in Korean War combat action, at the White House, Washington, D.C., 12 January 1954. Those who received the medal are (from left to right): First Lieutenant Edward R. Schowalter, Jr., U.S. Army, honored for his actions near Kumhwa, Korea, on 14 October 1952; Private First Class Ernest E. West, U.S. Army, honored for his actions near Sataeri, Korea, on 12 October 1952; and Hospital Corpsman Third Class William R. Charette, U.S. Navy, honored for his actions in Korea on 17 March 1953. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

1973, the first U.S. manned orbiting space station, Skylab 2, was launched with an all US Navy‬ crew. Commanding was Capt. Charles Conrad, Jr., with Cmdr. Paul J. Weitz, as the pilot, and Cmdr. Joseph P. Kerwin as the science pilot. Recovery was by USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14)…

Skylab 2 Astronauts pictured in-front of a Skylab 2 model. Left to right: Cmdr. Joseph P. Kerwin, USN; Capt. Charles Conrad, Jr., USN; and Cmdr. Paul J. Weitz, USN. NASA Photograph.

Skylab 2 Astronauts pictured in-front of a Skylab 2 model. Left to right: Cmdr. Joseph P. Kerwin, USN; Capt. Charles Conrad, Jr., USN; and Cmdr. Paul J. Weitz, USN. NASA Photograph.

USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14). With her rails manned, circa 1970-72, following conversion to an anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14). With her rails manned, circa 1970-72, following conversion to an anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

These three men are the crewmen for the first manned Skylab mission. They are Charles Conrad Jr., commander, standing left; scientist-astronaut Joseph P. Kerwin, seated; and Astronaut Paul J. Weitz, pilot. They were photographed and interviewed during an "open house" press day in the realistic atmosphere of the Multiple Docking Adapter (MDA) trainer in the Mission Simulation and Training Facility at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). The control and display panel for the Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) is at right. NASA Photograph Collection.

These three men are the crewmen for the first manned Skylab mission. They are Charles Conrad Jr., commander, standing left; scientist-astronaut Joseph P. Kerwin, seated; and Astronaut Paul J. Weitz, pilot. They were photographed and interviewed during an “open house” press day in the realistic atmosphere of the Multiple Docking Adapter (MDA) trainer in the Mission Simulation and Training Facility at the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). The control and display panel for the Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) is at right. NASA Photograph Collection.

Heroes and Warriors, all of them!

On the Web: Request Military Funeral Honors

For information on requesting military funeral honors, visit https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/mfh.

For detailed information and protocol for Navy military funerals, see Bureau of Naval Personnel instruction NAVPERS 15555D. For information on burial at sea, contact the U.S. Navy Mortuary Affairs Burial At Sea Program.

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#MilitaryMonday

Military thank you

May 1934, the USS Constitution completes a 3-year, 90 port city tour along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. After her journey, she returned to Boston, Mass. where she remains today as part of the Boston National Historical Parks.

USS Constitution, (1797-____) arriving at San Francisco, California, during her tour of ninety United States Ports, 1933. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 70818.

USS Constitution, (1797-____) arriving at San Francisco, California, during her tour of ninety United States Ports, 1933. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 70818.

USS Constitution, (1797-____) in Gaillard Cut, Panama Canal. Photographed during her 1931-34 cruise. Courtesy of Commander Louis J. Gulliver, USN, (Retired), July 1940. He was in command of USS Constitution during her 1931-34 cruise. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 55938

USS Constitution, (1797-____) in Gaillard Cut, Panama Canal. Photographed during her 1931-34 cruise. Courtesy of Commander Louis J. Gulliver, USN, (Retired), July 1940. He was in command of USS Constitution during her 1931-34 cruise. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 55938

USS Constitution, (1797-____) being greeted by Curtiss OC Observation Aircraft. Photographed during her 1931-34 cruise. Courtesy of Commander Louis J. Gulliver, USN, (Retired), July 1940. He was in command of Constitution during her 1933-34 cruise. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 55934.

USS Constitution, (1797-____) being greeted by Curtiss OC Observation Aircraft. Photographed during her 1931-34 cruise. Courtesy of Commander Louis J. Gulliver, USN, (Retired), July 1940. He was in command of Constitution during her 1933-34 cruise. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 55934.

USS Constitution, (1797-____), in the Chagres River approaching the first lock at the Panama Canal. USS Grebe (AM 43) is astern. Photographed during her 1931-34. Courtesy of Commander Louis J. Gulliver, USN, (Retired), July 1940. He was in command of USS Constitution during her 1931-34 cruise. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 55937.

USS Constitution, (1797-____), in the Chagres River approaching the first lock at the Panama Canal. USS Grebe (AM 43) is astern. Photographed during her 1931-34. Courtesy of Commander Louis J. Gulliver, USN, (Retired), July 1940. He was in command of USS Constitution during her 1931-34 cruise. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 55937.

In 1944, USS Ticonderoga (CV 14) was commissioned during WWII‬ and served in several campaigns in the Pacific earning five battle stars.

USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14), circa the late 1960's or early 1970's. Photo # NH 97488-KN

USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14), circa the late 1960’s or early 1970’s.
Photo # NH 97488-KN

Four U.S. Navy Grumman S-2E Trackers from Anti-Submarine Squadron VS-21 Lightning Bolts and VS-29 Tromboners fly over the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14) as she arrives at San Diego, Calif., following her conversion to an anti-submarine warfare carrier. VS-21 and VS-29 were assigned to Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group 53 (CVSG-53) aboard the Ticonderoga in 1970. Date: June 26, 1970  Source U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.488.039.063

Four U.S. Navy Grumman S-2E Trackers from Anti-Submarine Squadron VS-21 Lightning Bolts and VS-29 Tromboners fly over the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVS 14) as she arrives at San Diego, Calif., following her conversion to an anti-submarine warfare carrier. VS-21 and VS-29 were assigned to Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group 53 (CVSG-53) aboard the Ticonderoga in 1970.
Date: June 26, 1970
Source U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.488.039.063

Grumman F6F Hellcat fighters from USS Ticonderoga (CV 14) prepare to take off for strikes against targets in Manila Bay. The two leading planes are F6F-5N night fighters, with wing-mounted radar. Photograph is dated Jan. 9, 1945, but may have been taken during the 5-6 November 1944 attacks. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.  Catalog #: 80-G-305244

Grumman F6F Hellcat fighters from USS Ticonderoga (CV 14) prepare to take off for strikes against targets in Manila Bay. The two leading planes are F6F-5N night fighters, with wing-mounted radar. Photograph is dated Jan. 9, 1945, but may have been taken during the 5-6 November 1944 attacks. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
Catalog #: 80-G-305244

USS Ticonderoga (CV 14) afire after she was hit by a Kamikaze attack off Formosa, Jan. 21, 1945. Photographed from USS Miami (CL 89). A Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane is on the cruiser's starboard catapult, in the foreground. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.  Catalog #: 80-G-273151

USS Ticonderoga (CV 14) afire after she was hit by a Kamikaze attack off Formosa, Jan. 21, 1945. Photographed from USS Miami (CL 89). A Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane is on the cruiser’s starboard catapult, in the foreground. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
Catalog #: 80-G-273151

May 8, 2015: More than 50 vintage ‪#WWII‬ aircraft flying over our nations Capital as we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe. ‪#‎VEDay70‬

Vintage military aircraft Vought F4U ‘Corsair’ flies over the Washington Navy Yard, on the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, May 8, as part of the Arsenal of Democracy to honor World War II veterans.

Vintage military aircraft Vought F4U ‘Corsair’ flies over the Washington Navy Yard, on the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, May 8, as part of the Arsenal of Democracy to honor World War II veterans.

(May 8, 2015) – A formation of North American B-25 ‘Mitchell’ aircraft fly’s over Arlington, VA. while participating in the  70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ Flyover of Washington D.C. Fifty-six aircraft from various organizations shared in the event and the B-25 ‘Mitchell’ was the aircraft used in “Doolittle’s Raid Over Tokyo” on April, 18, 1942.

(May 8, 2015) – A formation of North American B-25 ‘Mitchell’ aircraft fly’s over Arlington, VA. while participating in the
70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ Flyover of Washington D.C. Fifty-six aircraft from various organizations shared in the event and the B-25 ‘Mitchell’ was the aircraft used in “Doolittle’s Raid Over Tokyo” on April, 18, 1942.

Vintage military aircraft flies over the Mall in Washington, on the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, May 8, as part of the Arsenal of Democracy to honor World War II veterans.

Vintage military aircraft flies over the Mall in Washington, on the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, May 8, as part of the Arsenal of Democracy to honor World War II veterans.

Vintage military aircraft fly over the Washington Navy Yard and display ship Barry (DD 933), on the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, May 8, as part of the Arsenal of Democracy to honor World War II veterans.

Vintage military aircraft fly over the Washington Navy Yard and display ship Barry (DD 933), on the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, May 8, as part of the Arsenal of Democracy to honor World War II veterans.

A Consolidated PBY ‘Catalina’ aircraft fly’s over the Washington Navy Yard as part of the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe.

A Consolidated PBY ‘Catalina’ aircraft fly’s over the Washington Navy Yard as part of the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe.

(May 8, 2015) – Two Vought F4U ‘Corsiar’ aircraft fly in formation over Arlington, VA. while participating in the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ Flyover of Washington D.C. Fifty-six aircraft from various organizations shared in the event.

(May 8, 2015) – Two Vought F4U ‘Corsiar’ aircraft fly in formation over Arlington, VA. while participating in the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ Flyover of Washington D.C. Fifty-six aircraft from various organizations shared in the event.

(May 8, 2015) – A Grumman TBM ‘Avenger’, Vought F4U ‘Corsair’, North American P-51 ‘Mustang’, and Curtiss P-40 ‘Warhawk’ fly in formation while participating in the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ Flyover of Washington D.C. Fifty-six aircraft from various organizations shared in the event.

(May 8, 2015) – A Grumman TBM ‘Avenger’, Vought F4U ‘Corsair’, North American P-51 ‘Mustang’, and Curtiss P-40 ‘Warhawk’ fly in formation while participating in the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ Flyover of Washington D.C. Fifty-six aircraft from various organizations shared in the event.

And finally, Douglas TBD-1 torpedo planes from USS Enterprise (CV 6) In flight, circa 1939. Plane closest to the camera is # 0318. Note how stripes painted on wings assist pilots in maintaining three-plane V formation. Collection of Vice Adm. George C. Dyer, USN (Retired). U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

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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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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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Warrior Wednesday: Angels of the Airfield

AOTA

They are simply called “The Angels of the Airfields”. These brave nurses escorted the physically and psychologically wounded soldiers from the pits of hell to the safety of forward operating hospitals. They are the forgotten heroes of the Second World War.

In 1945, the first two U.S. Navy flight nurses land on an active battlefield (Iwo Jima): Ensign Jane Kendeigh, USNR, and Lt. j. g. Ann Purvis, USNR.

Ensign Jane Kendeigh, (NC), USNR, is administering medical attention to serious casualties awaiting evacuation on an air strip on Iwo Jima. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 95014.

Ensign Jane Kendeigh, (NC), USNR, is administering medical attention to serious casualties awaiting evacuation on an air strip on Iwo Jima. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 95014.

Navy Flight Nurse Ensign Jane “Candy” Kendeigh photographed on the wing of a Naval Air Transport Service Evacuation aircraft on Okinawa, April 1945. Plane appears to be an R5D. Ensign Kendeigh was one of the first Flight Nurses to land on both Iwo Jima and Okinawa. National Archives photograph, 80-G-K-5277 (Color).

Navy Flight Nurse Ensign Jane “Candy” Kendeigh photographed on the wing of a Naval Air Transport Service Evacuation aircraft on Okinawa, April 1945. Plane appears to be an R5D. Ensign Kendeigh was one of the first Flight Nurses to land on both Iwo Jima and Okinawa. National Archives photograph, 80-G-K-5277 (Color).

Ensign Jane Kendeigh, (NC), USNR, was one of the first Navy Flight Nurses to serve on a battlefield. She is going over her patient’s charts with Chief Pharmacist Mate Silas V. Sturtevant, USN. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 95142.

Ensign Jane Kendeigh, (NC), USNR, was one of the first Navy Flight Nurses to serve on a battlefield. She is going over her patient’s charts with Chief Pharmacist Mate Silas V. Sturtevant, USN. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 95142.

Heroes, every single one of them!

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#WarriorWednesday: USS Kidd (DDG-661)

 

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The USS Kidd has been a fixture in Baton Rouge, Louisiana since 1982. Over that time, it has seen her ups and downs. Just like the brave men and women this memorial represents, it has always risen to meet challenges and surpass expectations.

It sits quietly. Almost stoic. Like it’s still on duty guarding the Baton Rouge shore of the Mississippi River.

I’ve overheard some people refer to the USS Kidd as “that boat on the river”.

George Seal, a volunteer at the USS Kidd, said, “It’s not just the boat on the river, this is a historical monument. Some of the questions we get, is this a real navy ship? Was this ship sank in world war eleven”?

Tim NesSmith, superintendent of the USS Kidd, said, “The Kidd is a fletcher class destroyer built in 1943 during the midst of World War II. She was one of 175 of her design and she’s only 1 of four left. Out of those four she is the only one that is still in her World War II configuration and she’s the closest ship of a destroyer design that you will find anywhere in the world”.

And it’s sitting right in our back yard. Over a year ago, we came close to losing it.

With increasing budget problems, the USS Kidd Veteran’s Museum almost had to close the doors. With the introduction of a new executive director and a specific plan and focus, the museum looks like smooth sailing.

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Alejandra “Alex” Juan, the Executive Director of the USS Kidd Veteran’s Museum, said, “This last year we really sort of hunkered down and reduced spending incredibly. We’ve gotten really creative with our programing and introduced 24 new programs. Despite all of that we managed to end the year in the black”.

She credits the success of the museum to the volunteers who run it.

She said, “It’s a one team one fight and we’re all in it together. We all did this to get to this point. They’ve been invaluable to everything that we’ve done”.

The most important people aren’t the current staff. NesSmith said, “If you think about the ship it’s just a cold piece of metal. Even as much effort as we put to make her just like she was in 1945, it’s just a static display. When you get the guys, especially the guys that served on here, they are telling you what this did and what that did. The ship becomes alive”.

When you talk to these veterans, you can easily see it’s more than a ship to them.William Barnhouse served on the USS Kidd in World War II.

He said, “We were just boys then. When we were aboard that ship, we were able to defeat the strongest enemy the world has ever known. She took care of us and got us home. We feel a real debt of gratitude to her a feel like she is just kind of a mother to us”.

Some people make coming to the Kidd as a pilgrimage to feel closer to those they’ve lost. Nancy Miller Grinage visited the USS Kidd all the way from Indiana. Her Father served on the USS Kidd in World War II.

She said, “Part of his life and history were on this boat. When I walked on board I knew I was there somewhere in his footsteps. It’s an incredible feeling. I know he’s proud that I’m here”.

It’s been called a number of different things: A monument, a historical artifact, a time capsule, a place of heroes, dad’s ship, mother.

The one thing that the USS Kidd is diffidently not, is just a boat on the river.

It has something to do with the history behind the structure, the history of the name, but more importantly it has much to do with the brave souls who served on her.

Defending Freedom wherever she sailed.

On the Web:

The USS KIDD (DD-661) Veterans Museum

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#ThrowbackThursday: The Books that Fought in WWII

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When the American armed forces prepared for the D-Day assault, the most in demand item was a book.

During World War II, books were one of the few items distributed to the American armed forces that were meant to make life at war bearable. American publishers, wanting to do their bit in the war, designed books that would fit the servicemen’s needs: small volumes in tempting titles that weighed next to nothing. These books were Armed Services Editions (“ASEs”), incredibly tiny paperbacks designed to fit the pocket of a standard issue military uniform. Over 120 million were printed over the course of the war with titles ranging from comics to Shakespeare and everything in between. Lonesome, homesick GIs eagerly grabbed these books and read them everywhere—while waiting in line for chow or a haircut, when pinned down in a foxhole, and while swinging in their hammocks below deck. And they were even carried into the Battle of Normandy.

Sailor reading in his bunk aboard USS CAPELIN. Credit: Lt. Comdr. Charles Fenno Jacobs, August 1943

Sailor reading in his bunk aboard USS CAPELIN.
Credit: Lt. Comdr. Charles Fenno Jacobs, August 1943

Under the leadership of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, plans for D-day were in the works for months before the invasion occurred in June 1944. In the final days leading to the boarding of the landing craft that would set out across the English Channel, American soldiers readied themselves. They crammed into their packs dozens of pounds of ammunition, provisions, extra weapons, and other necessities. Although the recommendation was that the men not bring more than forty-four pounds of equipment, it was estimated that some men weighed at least three hundred pounds as they waddled under the weight of their packs. As they waited for an announcement of when the invasion would begin, there was little to do but worry, pray, or read. Silence pervaded. A rosary could be seen in many a hand. According to one man, “Priests were in their heyday. I even saw Jews go and take communion. Everybody [was] scared to death.”

General Eisenhower took an especial interest in the morale of his troops. As he noted in his own memoirs, “morale, given rough equality to other things, is supreme on the battlefield.” Eisenhower was known to read western novels to relax and relieve stress, and the men who would be doing the fighting deserved no less. Anticipating the time it would take to assemble all of the men needed for the mission, and the boredom and anxiety associated with the chore of waiting, General Eisenhower’s staff earmarked over a half-million books to be distributed to the Americans as they waited for the invasion to begin. Among the ASEs that were set aside were Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Joseph Mitchell’s McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon, Charles Spalding and Otis Carney’s Love at First Flight, Booth Tarkington’s Penrod, and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Dozens of other titles joined the men on the shore of the English Channel.

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Prior to the invasion, the Army’s Special Services Division, which was responsible for serving the morale needs of soldiers, distributed some of the soldiers’ favorite items. Packs of cigarettes were shoved into pockets, candy bars were grabbed by the handful, but of all things, the most sought-after item was the ASEs. As one Special Services officer recalled, palpable tension mounted in the staging areas, and books were the only thing available that “provided sorely needed distraction to a great many men.” When the loading process finally began, many men, realizing how much weight they were carrying, stopped to unburden themselves of unnecessary items near the docking area. The ground was littered with a variety of objects, but among the heaps of discarded inessentials “very few Armed Services Editions were found by the clean-up squads that later went through the areas.” Weighing as little as a couple of ounces each, ASEs were the lightest weapon that the men could bring along.

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The Americans who landed at Utah and Omaha Beaches on June 6 had vastly different experiences. The American Fourth Division poured ashore at Utah Beach, meeting very little opposition. In fact, some men were a little let down at how anticlimactic the landing was; they described it as seeming like just another practice invasion. The early waves of troops landing at Omaha Beach, by contrast, faced near-certain death. As soon as the transports lowered their ramps, the exiting men were thrust into the line of fire. German machine-gun spray ripped across the boats, instantly killing the hapless Americans on them. For the first wave of LCIs that reached Omaha Beach, the death rate was nearly 100 percent; no one got off the beach. Later waves of troops faced grievous losses on the shore. Shell-shocked, many men simply froze, unable to move toward safety. Others who forded through the barrage of gunfire and mortar blasts and moved to the shelter of the cliffs at the top of the beach suffered injuries along the way. Unable to go farther, their shattered bodies dropped to the sand and stayed there until medics arrived. Many men who climbed the beach later that day would never forget the sight of gravely wounded soldiers propped up against the base of the cliffs, reading.

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Excerpted from When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning. Copyright © 2014 by Molly Guptill Manning. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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Sunday Reader: December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor – Then and Now

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On Dec. 7, 1941, the U.S. Naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii suffered a devastating attack from the air and sea.

The Japanese assault began at 7:48 a.m., resulting in the death of 2,402 Americans, numerous injuries, the sinking of four battleships and damage to many more. Surprised U.S. service members who normally may have slept in on that Sunday morning, or enjoyed some recreation, instead found themselves fighting for their lives.

Now, 73 years later, the U.S. Navy remembers the “day of infamy” with a series of photographs that compare scenes from that horrifying day to the present.

Defenders on Ford Island watch for planes during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Defenders on Ford Island watch for planes during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

The battleship USS California (BB 44) burns in the foreground as the battleship USS Arizona (BB 39) burns in the background after the initial attack on Pearl Harbor.

The battleship USS California (BB 44) burns in the foreground as the battleship USS Arizona (BB 39) burns in the background after the initial attack on Pearl Harbor.

Defenders on Ford Island watch for planes during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Defenders on Ford Island watch for planes during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Hangar 6 on Ford Island stands badly damaged after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Hangar 6 on Ford Island stands badly damaged after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

A view of the historic Ford Island control tower from 1941. The tower was once used to guide airplanes at the airfield on the island and will now be used as an aviation library.

A view of the historic Ford Island control tower from 1941. The tower was once used to guide airplanes at the airfield on the island and will now be used as an aviation library.

The battleship USS Arizona (BB 39) burns in the background during the attack on Pearl Harbor as viewed from Ford Island.

The battleship USS Arizona (BB 39) burns in the background during the attack on Pearl Harbor as viewed from Ford Island.

The Mahan-class destroyer USS Shaw (DD 373) explodes in the background after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Mahan-class destroyer USS Shaw (DD 373) explodes in the background after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Sailors on Ford Island look on as the Mahan-class destroyer USS Shaw (DD 373) explodes in the background after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Sailors on Ford Island look on as the Mahan-class destroyer USS Shaw (DD 373) explodes in the background after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

#NeverForget #PearlHarborDay #December7th

#NeverForget #PearlHarborDay #December7th

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#WarriorWednesday: WWII Vet Stood Strong Against Kamikaze Onslaught

Angelo Recine, 90, hld the Bronze Star he received for his service in WWII

Angelo Recine, 90, holds the Bronze Star he received for his service in WWII

The kamikaze bore down on the USS Caperton, and Angelo Recine stood his ground as still-green sailors, some little more than boys, scattered.

Bullets from the Japanese Zero whizzed by his head. The gunner’s mate 3rd class manned the 40 mm gun and took aim. The pilot in the cockpit was close.

“I could see him in the plane,” the 90-year-old Toms River, N.J., man recalled. “He was coming at me just like he was in front of me. I can still see him. He didn’t look scared to me.”

Recine was, he said.

Two years earlier, he was an All-Middlesex County guard for the New Brunswick High School Zebras football team. The son of a bricklayer and a Squibbs factory worker, both Italian immigrants, left school early to join the Navy.

“I wanted to be proud of myself,” he said.

In 1944 in the South Pacific, he had the opportunity.

Recine unloaded round after round at the Japanese Zero while the enemy aircraft strafed his position on the destroyer’s deck.

“It was either he killed me or I killed him,” he said.

The Zero crashed into the sea, about 50 yards from the Caperton, he said.

The citation signed by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal that came with the Bronze Star Medal, reads “Steadfast and courageous, Recine manned his 40mm gun and with resolute determination … coolly disregarded all personal danger…thereby inspiring the inexperienced crew to similar performance.”

Dwindling ranks

With each passing Veteran’s Day, tales like Recine’s are being recalled less and less. The Greatest Generation cast such a large shadow it may have seemed like the men and women who suffered through the Great Depression as children and served during World War II would never fade.

But according to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, there are a little more than a million veterans still alive out of the 16 million who served. Five hundred fifty-five die each day. There are about 27,400 living in New Jersey, according to the museum.

Of the 360 men who served with Recine on the Caperton, the veteran believes about 15 are alive. Nine died while he served on board. He saw each man buried at sea.

“I was the guy who would get a 5-inch shell and tie it between their legs. I put them on the stretcher let them go into the water. And down they went,” he said. “There was no place to put them.”

Recine’s three brothers served in the Navy. All survived the war but have since died. One of nine children, he has four living sisters.

Combat for Recine happened on land, too. He killed another Japanese soldier in an armed struggle on one of the Mariana Islands, and he took the man’s sword. He has no regrets, he said.

But he wasn’t without sadness over all the killings. He helped rescue a group of Japanese sailors from the open water, eight or nine of them. They were turned over to U.S. Marines, who shot the unarmed men, Recine said.

After the Navy, Recine played football for the Tennessee Volunteers for a year and had a tryout with the New York Giants, he said. He settled back in New Brunswick where he worked as a bricklayer for more than 40 years for Atlas Concrete, eventually becoming president of the company.

One of his two daughters, Arlene Anderson, said she never knew about her father’s war record until she was an adult with her own family.

“He was never a man to brag about anything,” she said. If people spoke about the war around him, he said nothing, she said.

Recine, who now lives at the Rose Garden Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Toms River and gets around in a wheelchair, also has four grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

“I’ve seen the bad, I’ve seen worse, I’ve seen good,” he said. “Let’s put it this way — it’s been a good life.”

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