The USS Nevada was the first “dreadnaught” or battleship, to use oil rather than coal for fuel, the first to use the later standard 3 main gun turrets.
Commissioned in 1914, she would serve in WWI and WWII. At Pearl Harbor, she was the only battleship on “battleship row” to get underway. Her executive officer, who was in charge in the Captain’s absence, made the wise decision to beach her at Hospital Point, as she had taken six bombs and a torpedo; had he continued his attempt to gain the sea, the massive ship could have sunk in the channel leading to the harbor, trapping other ships either in or out of Pearl Harbor.
She would be repaired and would serve in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters, at Normandy and Okinawa.
One of these photos shows her with the only remaining battleship to have served in both WWI and WWII, the USS Texas (visit her in Houston).
The obsolete warrior would be used for atomic testing at Bikini Atoll, being the subject of two atomic bomb tests.
She still would not quit, and had to be sunk with aerial torpedoes. Her only sister ship was not so fortunate. The USS Oklahoma capsized at Pearl Harbor, then sank while being towed back to the states for repair.
Just this year, the Nevada was located 65 miles southwest of Pearl Harbor on the ocean floor.
The Battle of Midway and Aviation Machinist Mate First Class Bruno Peter Gaido.
In brief, US Pacific forces had been decimated by a Japanese onslaught since Pearl Harbor. The US Navy and USAAF had been fighting back, however, by bombing Japan during the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of the Coral Sea and several raids by Carrier Groups across the Pacific.
During a raid in March, 1942 on the Marshall Islands by a Task Force built around the USS Enterprise (CV 6), the ship was attacked by five twin engine Betty bombers. Under withering fire, four turn back. The lead plane however, attempts to crash into the aircraft carrier. As the bomber grew closer, Aviation Machinist Mate Third Class Bruno Peter Gaido springs from the catwalk surround the flight deck and runs to a nearby SBD Dauntless Diver Bomber. He climbs into the rear of the plane to use the rear gunner’s machine gun. He began firing at the enemy plane, maintaining the fire into it’s cockpit even as it’s wing slices the rear of the SBD away mere inches from him. The Betty crashed into the sea, and Bruno is credited with causing to miss the ship.
Bruno disappeared inside the bowels of the ship, figuring he’d be in trouble for leaving his normal battle station. Quite the contrary; Admiral William “Bull” Halsey had him brought to the bridge, where he summarily ordered him promoted to Aviation Machinist Mate FIRST Class.
Spring forward to June 4, 1942 and Bruno Gaido was in the rear of Ensign Frank O’Flaherty’s Dauntless as they dove on the IJN Carrier Kaga when Bombing and Scouting 6 from Enterprise sent her to the bottom. As many know, Akagi, Soryu and Hiryu would also be sunk that day.
Can you imagine what being a rear gunner in a WWII dive bomber must have been like? During the attack, the aircraft dove at a 70% angle, nearly straight down. Held tight by safety belts, scanning for any fighters that dared to attempt to follow the dive, the rear gunner may never have known of a crash or a hit by anti-aircraft fire.
After their bombing run Ensign O’Flaherty and AMM Gaido attempted to make it home to Enterprise, but due to a punctured fuel tank and another attack by Japanese Zero fighters, had to ditch at sea.
The pair were picked up, “rescued” by the Japanese destroyer Makigumo. The officers of the destroyer, angered by the loss they had witnessed of the Japanese carriers, interrogated and tortured the American airmen. After days of this, on June 15, they ordered weights tied the both men and had them thrown overboard to drown. The Japanese sailors who survived the war to tell said both men faced their fate with courage and stoicism. Bruno Gaido’s ship mates had expected no less…he had gained a reputation.
As for the war criminals on the Makigumo? The ship was sunk during the Guadalcanal campaign and none of the officers responsible for the murder survived the war.
Joe Hunt won the U.S. Junior’s Tennis Championship.
Joe Hunt won the U.S. Collegiate Tennis Championship.
Joe Hunt won the U.S. Men’s Singles Tennis Championship.
Joe Hunt won the 21st Annual Bayview Park Tennis Championship.
He was the only person ever to achieve all of these titles.
Why have you not heard of Joe’s name alongside Arthur Ashe, Billy Jean King, John McEnroe, and Serena Williams?
Because at the height of his career in 1938, Joe Hunt transferred from the University of Southern California to another prestigious college…the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Joe wanted to serve his country. He continued to excel at Tennis, and at Football for the USNA.
When war broke out Lieutenant Hunt served in destroyers in the Pacific and the Atlantic.
He won the US Men’s Championship while home on leave.
But destroyer duty, escorting convoys in the Atlantic wasn’t enough for the aggressive athlete…after several requests he finally got the opportunity to earn his wings and take the fight to the enemy in the air…what he really wanted to do.
Joe won his last championship against other former champions serving in the military at a match held near the Pensacola Naval Air Station where he was training.
And on this date in 1945, Joe’s F6F Hellcat fighter crashed into the Atlantic during a training accident. He never got to take the fight to the enemy from a carrier. His meteoric rise in Tennis was cut short.
How much potential did we lost during our nation’s wars? How can we possibly repay such sacrifice? Of course we cannot.
But in 2019, the U.S. Tennis Association demonstrated THEY have not forgotten. They named their Military Appreciation Day in honor of Lieutenant Joseph Hunt, USN.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first US President to fly in an aircraft for official business.
FDR was to meet Winston Churchill in Casablanca, Morocco to discuss strategy in WWII. For previous meetings the President and Prime Minister had travelled by warship, but the US military was concerned about heightened U-Boat activity in the Atlantic.
As a result President Roosevelt agreed to make the trip by plane, specifically a Boeing 314 four engine flying boat named the Dixie Clipper. The flight flew from Florida to South America and crossed to North Africa. After the meeting, FDR celebrated his 61st birthday on the return flight. He was already in poor health and the 1700 mile trip took its toll.
Thirty-three years earlier, FDR’s cousin Theodore Roosevelt had become the first president to fly in an aircraft. After having left office, TR was on a speaking tour when he encountered pilot Arch Hoxley at Kinloch Field in St. Louis, Missouri.
The always adventurous TR could not resist the offer to go for a jaunt in the Wright built airplane…little more than a powered kite, and much less luxurious than the Clipper his cousin would use. In fact, TR’s pilot, Hoxley, would die in a plane crash the following December.
I have to wonder if this is historic coincidence or much more. FDR grew up in TR’s very large shadow, and greatly admired him. FDR followed TR’s path as much as he could…Under Secretary of the Navy, the New York legislature and New York governor. While TR was a Republican and FDR was a Democrat, FDR traded on TR’s legend…and TR supported his prodigy. TR wanted to break tradition and serve a third term, which did not happen. FDR was into his fourth term when he died.
So of course one has to wonder if from competitiveness or emulation, was the opportunity to follow up on a Presidentially pioneering flight just too much too pass up?
“Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.”
-Vice President Thomas Marshall.
President Theodore Roosevelt dies at Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, New York in his sleep of a heart attack. “Teddy” had taken every last drop of adventure and worthiness that he could squeeze out of life in the preceding 60 years.
Roosevelt had been a sickly child; constantly plagued by breathing problems, he could rarely play with the other children. His father, Theodore Sr., a remarkable man himself, told “Teedie” that if he wanted to have a successful life, he would have to take charge and force his body into the form he needed to match his intellect. Roosevelt did just that. He took exercise as his “raison detre” until he was barrel chested and of vigorous health. Each time he became sick during his life, he would simply work through it.
As a young man, while serving in the New York Assembly, Roosevelt was called home from Albany by an urgent message. After the train ride to NYC, he arrived home to be met at the door by his brother, “There is a curse upon this house.”
Roosevelt’s wife and mother died on the same day…February 14, 1884, within hours of each other. Writing in his diary only a large X and the words “The light has gone out of my life”, Roosevelt fled into the west, becoming a rancher and for a time a lawman in the Dakota Territory. The experience would strengthen him and give him a background people respected.
During his life he was a state rep from New York, the Police Commissioner for New York City, Governor of New York, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (he oversaw the building of a modern US Navy while his boss was not paying attention), he led the “Rough Riders” (1st Volunteer US Cavalry) up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War, became Vice President, and the President after President McKinley was assassinated.
As President he defined the modern presidency, breaking up monopolies, seeing that mistreated workers got a fair shake, sent the “Great White Fleet” around the world establishing American as a world influence, saw the Panama Canal built, saw the establishment of the National Parks Service, and countless other accomplishments.
He worked tirelessly for the American people. After the Presidency he traveled extensively, going on an African Safari, and exploring an unknown region of South America, “The River of Doubt”; a region so treacherous that it was considered a no-man’s land. He nearly died in the mapping of the river, now called “Rio Roosevelt” in his honor.
All of his male children fought in WWI, and the only reason Teddy didn’t was because the Democrat President (Wilson) refused to let him, afraid Roosevelt would run against him in the next election and win. One of his sons, Quentin, would be shot down over France and be killed. That was the last straw for the “Old Lion”. He mourned dreadfully until his death.
One of his other children, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., would be the only General to go ashore with the troops at D-Day in WWII; Teddy Jr would die of a heart attack himself several weeks after the Normandy invasion. The entire world would mourn President Roosevelt’s passing; he had become larger that life, a hero to people the world over. The quintessential American. And in case you couldn’t tell, my favorite Hero.
At TR’s funeral at Oyster Bay, what I believe is the best, most heartfelt eulogy was spoken in passing. Walking from the church a New York City Police Captain who had served with Roosevelt more than 20 years earlier when he was Police Commissioner, was overcome with emotion. He turned to TR’s sister and asked, “Oh…do you remember the FUN of him?”
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a US Navy Veteran of the Second World War. He had served in the Pacific Theater, commanding PT-109, a “Patrol-Torpedo” boat about 77 feet in length. His boat was sunk in the Solomon Islands and he became a war hero for his efforts in his crew’s rescue. But that is another story.
As President it was his habit to attend the annual Army-Navy game to unabashedly root for Navy. He planned to attend the game on December 1, 1963. However he was cut down by an assassin’s bullet in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.
Out of respect for their commander in chief the services postponed the game. Kennedy’s widow asked that the game be played in his honor.
On December 7 the game was held in Philadelphia. It would become a landmark game because when Army scored a touchdown, the producers decided to use a new technology for the very first time. They used their new machinery to instantly replay the touchdown for viewers. Their phones immediately lit up as viewers were confused as to whether Army had scored twice! Of course this technology has advanced markedly since and is frequently utilized to decide debated plays.
Navy Quarterback Midshipman Roger Staubach led “The President’s Team” to a 21-15 victory over Army. Staubach would receive the Heisman Trophy and go on to lead the Dallas Cowboys in a remarkable career.
The First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal takes place in what would become known as “Iron-bottom Sound” off Guadalcanal.
US intelligence had warned US Navy forces that the IJN planned to bombard Henderson Field and its Marines, and land reinforcements on the embattled island.
Admirals Callahan and Scott took their forces to interdict IJN Admiral Abe’s forces. In a fierce, confusing, intense night action the Japanese won a tactical victory by sinking more American ships, while the Americans won a strategic victory…Henderson was not bombarded and the American troop ships remained undamaged.
But it came at a heavy cost for both sides.
Admirals Callahan and Scott would be the only US Admirals to be killed in direct ship to ship combat in the war, and aboard the USS Juneau, the five “Fighting Sullivan” brothers would all be lost. Of course many more Americans died that night, good Irish names or not.
For the Japanese, surviving battleship Hiei, among others, would fall prey to air attacks from Henderson, Espirito Santo, and the USS Enterprise. And this was only the beginning of the battle. The American aircrews missed by the Japanese were eager to get some retribution for their big gun Navy comrades.
Lessons came out of the devastation. Commanders learned how to utilize their newly assigned radar equipment to their advantage; they learned how effectively trained the Japanese were at night fighting.
And, they changed the rules to forbid siblings and close relatives from serving in the same units…so some poor Officer wouldn’t have to knuckle a door and tell a mother that ALL FIVE of her sons who she had raised and loved were gone from one horrific action.
The Battle of Mobile Bay. During the Civil War, Confederate “blockade runners” (Rhett Butler types) kept the South in vital supplies by running past the Union Navy blockade from Cuba to ports like Mobile Bay, Alabama.
US Navy Admiral David Glasgow Farragut was tasked with closing this last Confederate source of supplies. His fleet had to fight past the Confederate fleet of ironclads and two forts that guarded the bay. As the battle progressed, the Union fleet began to fragment, until Farragut rallied his sailors with famous admonition, winning the battle.
Mobile would remain in Confederate hands, but access to it was cut off for the duration. Farragut was the adopted son of US Naval Officer David Porter, who also raised his biological sons, famous Naval officers David Dixon Porter, and William Porter. One family played such a vital role in the glory of the US Navy. Can you imagine being a part of it?