12/7, 12/8

12/8/2018

December 7, 1943:  Today is the second anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack and this is our second day in Pearl.  We are tied-up alongside the sunken Arizona.  Tomorrow we will have our first liberty.  We will be going out every week for three or four days of practice firing.

December 8, 1943:  Today I had my first liberty in Honolulu and it is full of Sailors.  The area is one large military installation and civilians work around the clock.  The trip to Honolulu is by liberty boat from the ship to the Navy yard, through the main gate at the yard to the railroad station.  The train is a narrow gauge train and is packed with Sailors.  The train travels through pineapple and sugarcane fields.  The military installations are quonset huts and tents.  The trip to Honolulu is under one hour.  Liberty  is two days off and one day on. Wikikaki [sic] Beach is beautiful with great sandy beaches and having drinks at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and drinking beer at the breakers.  Frank Studenski

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George H W Bush, R.I.P.

11-30-18

Between 1/1/53 and 1/1/89, six presidents were inaugurated into office after serving their country in active combat duty during WWII.  (Starting with Eisenhower and ending with Bush: Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford and last but not least, George H.W. Bush.)

From A Bird’s Eye View:  In the early stages of Operation King  –  the Leyte Landing, a squadron of Avenger Torpedo bombers [that] launched off the light carrier San Jacinto (in Task Group 38.4) on September 2, 1944 attacked a radar installation on ChiChi Jima (Bonin Islands.)  They flew into a storm of antiaircraft fire, and the plane piloted by George H. Bush flamed down and crashed into the sea.  Bush had successfully bombed his target before bailing out.  The only survivor, he was rescued by a submarine and returned to his carrier one month later.

The 41st President died this evening at his home in Houston.

 

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Thanksgiving

11-17-18

While there may have been a small group of officers assigned to the being-built Boston in the latter days of 1942, the majority of men were assigned to the new ship in late winter / early spring of 1943.  The ship left Boston for the War on Nov. 14, 1943, headed for Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal and a stop in San Francisco.

I am fortunate to have a copy of Frank Studenski’s “War Diary – U.S.S. Boston CA69”  the contents of which are splashed all over the books I have written and this website (also some quotes in our Task Force 58/38 website.) Frank spent three Thanksgivings and three Christmases aboard the ship.

November 27, 1943:  Today is Thanksgiving Day, (Holiday routine) we are having Turkey, Ham and all the trimmings.  We will arrive at Frisco tomorrow.

A year later, the ship and it’s war-weary crew left the Philippines operations for the anchorage at Ulithi.  They were detached en route and went to the huge navy base at Seeadler Harbor, Manus Island (Admiralties) for drydock overhauls and repairs (Nov 22 – Dec 8, 1944).  Frank does not call out Thanksgiving Day in his diary, but did include a scan of the Thanksgiving Day Menu in the appendix pages:

Frank was still aboard the ship during it’s last Thanksgiving Day celebration in the Pacific.  He did not chronicle Occupation Duty as he had the War, so he did not call out Thanksgiving 1945 as a diary entry.  Frank left the ship the day after Christmas and headed home.

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Another from “Steichen at War”

11-12-18

Today is, of course, the “legal holiday” following yesterday’s 11-11-11 Day of Remembrance.  What strikes me about this slice-of-life photo of men far away from home, lined up hoping to get mail from loved ones is just that:  the plight of most veterans, whether they served in times of peace or times of war was the loneliness of being away from loved ones.

In honor of all vets who served our country, as well as all active military personnel doing exactly that.

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Steichen at War

11-12-18

Edward Steichen, a renowned photographer in his early 60’s when WWII broke out, wanted to enlist in the Navy and contribute to the war effort by photographing it.  To make a long story short, he convinced Admiral Radford, who in turn let Steichen create “the Naval Photographic Unit.”  Steichen attached himself to the heavy carrier Lexington.  His unit included accomplished photographers Wayne Miller, Charles Kerlee, Charles Fenno Jacobs, Horace Bristol. Victor Jorgensen and Alfonso Ianelli.

The book, Steichen at War, by Christopher Phillips, was published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, in 1981.  It is filled with amazing shots by all the above named photographers.  Steichen’s overall theme for his unit: take some shots that will satisfy the brass, but above all else, focus on the men.

One sailor inspects another sailor’s tattoos aboard the USS New Jersey. December 1944. Fenno Jacobs

Aircrewmen of the USS Ticonderoga in the ready room, preparing for the first air strike against Manila. November 5, 1944.   Wayne Miller

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