Additional photos are posted at the www.ussgrunion.com Web site under Photo Albums. For additional information read the Attack Analysis blog, contact Bruce Abele at [email protected] , or post to the blog.
Sub Patrol Records on DVD
The entire 62,000-page collection of World War II Submarine War Patrol Reports—covering some 250 boats and 1,550 patrols—is available in digital format. The set of 31 DVDs costs $650. Although available for years on microfilm from the National Archives, that collection costs $4,900.
Submarine Memorabilia, a company owned in part by retired Chief Electrician, Submarine Force, John Clear, announced sale of the collection in early September. Clear, who was the driving force behind the project, said: "This is history at its best, written when it occurred and where it occurred. Specifics will take the reader back through a time machine and bring them aboard that particular submarine as each occurrence happened."
The general public, researchers, authors, and submarine veterans will now have easy access to these reports preserved in their "as written, as is" form.
Navy Memorial Celebrates Two Decades
As the Navy celebrated its 232nd birthday and the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., on 13 October, it is interesting to note the memorial's place in the district's history. Some two centuries before its construction, the first mention of such a memorial on a riverfront site only about six blocks from the current Navy Memorial was presented by Major Pierre L'Enfant in his original design of the new nation's capital city.
When proposed by the Navy Memorial Foundation, the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation charged with the redevel-opment of the avenue embraced the organization's concept of a memorial to bring life to the avenue with amphitheater band concerts and the pomp and ceremony of events on the memorial plaza throughout the year. Thomas Regan, former executive director of the development corporation and a Naval Academy graduate, called the memorial the "crown jewel" of the redeveloped Pennsylvania Avenue and said that it succeeded in "bringing life" to it.
At other less active times, the memorial's 26 large bronze reliefs depicting segments of naval history captures the attention of tourists, as does the 100-foot circle deck of the amphitheater that is a granite polar projection of the earth. There, a visitor can see the enormous size of the Navy's habitat—the oceans and seas. Tourists also gravitate to the Lone Sailor for photos. Few statues in the Washington area are more photographed than this one, which has become an icon for the Navy. The adjacent Heritage Center adds to the Memorial's scope and utility.
It has been more than 60 years since Seaman First Class Edwin Ogonowski walked the decks of the battleship Missouri (BB-63), where he, as a member of her crew, witnessed the surrender ceremony that ended World War II. This September, Ogonowski returned to his ship, now the Battleship Missouri Memorial, as a guest of honor and speaker to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the end of history's most destructive war.
Ogonowski, a retired 82-year-old Chicago police officer, joined keynote speaker Admiral Timothy J. Keating, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, on the battleship's fantail in the ceremony set for the exact hour of surrender proceedings.
While sharing memories of the ship and that day, Ogonowski reflected on the day the Missouri was struck by a kamikaze. He was just feet away and is even visible in a famous photograph of the moment before impact.
HS=High Seas or Homeless
While it is almost natural for retired Navy ships to be turned into museums, community groups in Honolulu, Hawaii, are looking at the vessels for a different use—as homeless shelters. In an Associated Press report, the Reverend Gary Shields, director of the Victory Ohana Prison Fellowship, stated: "Land is a high commodity. We live on a rock. Hawaii has to do something different and out of the box. And this is out of the box."
The first possibility is the former 642-foot destroyer tender Acadia (AD-42), which was built in 1981 and decommissioned in 1994. In January, Navy officials decided to dispose of, sell off, or give away the vessel, which is docked at Pearl Harbor.
A coalition called the Acadia Acquisition Committee is negotiating with the state for a place to put the ship. Its proposal calls for the vessel to start housing people as early as May 2009. Organizers are trying to determine how much the program would cost but are expecting to spend at least $2 million just to get the ship ready for basic accommodations by adding such amenities as air conditioning, revamped bunks, and bedrooms.
Memorial services honoring the loss of 203 U.S. Sailors 65 years ago off southern Newfoundland were scheduled for early October at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York, and the East Coast War Memorial in Battery Park, New York City. A special participant in the commemoration services is the mayor of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, Wayde G. Rowsell.
Early on the morning of 18 February 1942, a convoy of three American warships—the USS Wilkes (DD-441), USS Pollux (AKS-2), and USS Truxtun (DD-229)—heading to Argentia, Newfoundland, ran aground off the Burin Peninsula during a raging snowstorm. Two ships, the Pollux and Truxtun , were lost, and with them the Sailors. Rescuers from Lawn and St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, saved 186 men from the ships.
Americans at War
As many of you know—especially members of the U.S. Naval Institute who received a sample DVD last summer—the Institute is now on television. Our series, titled Americans at War, consists of 90-second high-definition interstitials that have been airing between feature programming on PBS since July. In the grand television scheme, these are decidedly baby steps, but reactions from across the country have been glowing.
The striking vignettes of combat veterans in their own words are the result of tedious editing done under the seasoned leadership of Executive Producer Tim Cowling and Producer/Director Yehuda Goldman. Tim and Yehuda call the shots on which images are used (many of them researched by Janis Jorgensen in our own photo archive) and how up to an hour of raw footage is transformed into a powerful 90 seconds. They do a masterful job.
One of our first interview subjects was Edwin C. Bearss, former chief historian of the National Park Service best known for the legendary tours he leads across this country's Civil War battlefields. Some of you might recognize him from his colorful commentary on Ken Burns' highly acclaimed PBS series The Civil War. What many people don't know about Ed is that he suffered serious wounds in the Battle of Suicide Creek at Cape Gloucester on New Britain in World War II.
Edwin Bearss' retelling of events
in the Naval Institute's Americans at War Series
After receiving our sample DVD, with Ed Bearss on it, 81-year-old Sid Speed from Morgantown, West Virginia, decided to write him a note. Speed's brother, Harold, and Ed had been in the same platoon during the battle. The Speed family had been told that Harold was killed instantly on 26 December 1943 as his landing craft reached the beach. But it turns out Harold was killed in combat at Suicide Creek on 2 January. In fact, Ed said, "he was behind me that day." And Ed was there when he died. "I'm still in a state of awe," Mr. Speed wrote to us. "Because of that promotional DVD, I was able to connect with Ed and get a first-hand report." We're willing to bet this series will reveal many more such connections in the future. Stay tuned.