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There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.-- General William T. Sherman
This is a talk on an action which took place in the North Atlantic on Easter Sunday. I'll give you some background before I go into that part of the story. I will give you a general idea of what we were doing. We were Task Group 21.12 operating as a so-called killer group. Our mission was to sink submarines and we attempted to stay at sea in the areas where the submarines were concentrating.
Note: Recollections of Lieutenant Commander Dudley S. Knox, USNR, on destroyer escort USS Chatelain (DE-149). These actions occured the 9th and 10th of April 1944. 9498 Reads
The Laffey was built in Bath, Maine and was commissioned in Boston, Massachusetts, at the Navy Yard on February 8th, 1944. After a brief shakedown period, the ship participated in the Normandy Invasion in June 1944, after which she took part in the Cherbourg bombardment on June 25th, 1944 and suffered an eight-inch hit which fortunately did not explode.
Note: by Commander Frederick Julian Becton, USN, Commanding Officer of the destroyer USS Laffey (DD-724). 5990 Reads
NBC. Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. These were some of the most thought about things in the blast furnace of Iraq. Not that we did not have other things to think about but the idea of a virus that could live 3-5 days in the desert environment was not something to take lightly.
Our fireteam (Det8), was staging off the Hunderton County (LST-838) and out of the Rach Gia short strip. We had been flying combat ops between Long Xuyen and Rach Gia and had spotted about a half acre of (VC) watermelons growing on a flat spot above a village which was along a river.
I had just had breakfast and was looking out a porthole in sick bay when someone said, "What the hell are all those planes doing up there on a Sunday? " Someone else said, "It must be those crazy Marines. They'd be the only ones out maneuvering on a Sunday." When I looked up in the sky I saw five or six planes starting their descent. Then when the first bombs dropped on the hangers at Ford Island, I thought, "Those guys are missing us by a mile." Inasmuch as practice bombing was a daily occurrence to us, it was not too unusual for planes to drop bombs, but the time and place were quite out of line.
Many stories of World War II combat missions in B-17s over Europe have been written. Rarely did any of these tell much about the planning, briefing, organization of the formations, form up and what happened after the planes returned to their bases. This mission was chosen to document for the casual readers to profile a typical combat mission in those days.
I HAVE made several attempts to inform your excellency, that the French West-India fleet, under Monsieur de Grasse, entered the capes the 29th ult. I could not exactly learn the number; they report twenty-five or twenty-six sail of the line.
1775, August 25.-Embark'd on board Cap't Jacksons sloop at 5 oclock in the afternoon (who had on board Col'o Clinton, Mr. Drake sutler & Cap't Nicholson with his company. We sail'd in company with Cap't North, Van Shaack, & Gale each with men on board. In the evening Van Shaack & Gale got aground on Esopus meadows.
ON May 31st, 1916, the Grand Fleet and the High Sea Fleet fought the action which has become known as the Battle of Jutland. The despatch describing the battle, as published some weeks later, was not quite in its original form as written by me. After a conference held at the Admiralty, early in June, modifications were made : some of them because it was considered that certain passages might convey useful information to the enemy, and others because it was thought to be undesirable to draw attention to certain features of British design.
It was 15 May 1951 and I was a 1st Lt. assigned to the 12th Sqdn, 18th FBW flying F-51Ds. This was my 44th mission. Assigned as element lead (no. 3) in a flight of four. Flight commander was Capt. AE Rice. His wingman was Lt. Forrest Strange. My wingman was Lt. Luther A. Webb.
Somewhere in France, July 23, 1918
Dear Father and Mother:
I have just finished sewing on my first service stripe, the meaning of which, as you probably know, is six months in foreign service. That number "23" still clings to the Twenty-third Engineers, and is a regular epoch marker.
Our cavalry brigade arrived in Peronne in November 1917, after a long trek up from billets. We had had a fairly easy time during the summer of that year. For a few months we had been dismounted and had been up at Vimy Ridge doing all sorts of work: digging reserve trenches, reinforcing communication trenches and digging new ones - in fact, doing real navvy work, which, on the whole, was enjoyable, as far as anything could be enjoyable in France during the War. The weather was good, rations were plentiful, though the water had a wicked taste.
On the night of 20 November 1970 at 2300 hours, five HH-53s and one HH-3 helicopter took off with fifty-six Special Forces Soldiers from Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. The aircraft would refuel over Laos and enter North Vietnamese airspace from the west. The target of the helo borne assault was the Son Tay Prisoner of War (POW) Camp located 23 miles northwest of the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The flight from Udorn to Son Tay was approximately 337 miles one way.
1775 January. - At the precise period when my medical studies and education are completed, under the patronage of Dr. Abner Hersey of Barnstable, and I am contemplating the commencement of a new career in life, I find our country about to be involved in all the horrors of a civil war. A series of arbitrary and oppressive measures, on the part of the mother-country, has long been advancing to that awful crisis, when an appeal to the power of the sword becomes inevitable.
Believe it or not, it was a very cold night on the outskirts of Phan Rang Air Base that Christmas night in 1967. Most of us had been scurrying earlier, prior to Guardmount, to find a jacket or a extra shirt---actually, anything to keep warm. I mean, 68°F was COLD, and we weren't used to it.
1815: USS Constitution, under Captain Charles Stewart, captures HMS Cyane and sloop-of-war Levant.
1861: The Confederacy Department of Navy is formed.
1864: In the largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War, a Confederate force under General Joseph Finegan decisively defeats an army commanded by General Truman Seymour. The victory kept the Confederates in control of Florida's interior for the rest of the war.
1865: Following the evacuation of Fort Anderson, Rear Admiral Porter's gunboats steamed seven miles up the Cape Fear River to the Big Island shallows and the piling obstructions and engaged Fort Strong's five guns.
1941: The U.S. sent war planes to the Pacific. General George C. Kenney pioneered aerial warfare strategy and tactics in the Pacific theater.
1942: Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast.
1942: Japanese drive off a carrier based task force led by the American aircraft carrier Lexington which attempts to attack Rabaul.
1943: British and American units hold the German attack on Sbiba.
1944: American carrier aircraft from Task Group 58.1 (Admiral Reeves) attack Japanese targets in Jaluit Atoll. The fighting on Eniwetok continues. The nearby island of Parry is shelled by US naval forces.
1944: A ferry carrying a stock of heavy water on the first stage of a journey from the Ryukan hydroelectric plant to laboratories in Germany is sunk and her cargo lost in attack by Norwegian resistance fighters.