More Forties Glam


The ship was ordered to return to the Navy yard at San Pedro for major repairs and retrofits in March 1945.  After a brief stop at Pearl Harbor, they reached the California coast on the 25th.

Frank Studenski:  Early this morning, I got my first look at the California coast line.  We pulled into Terminal Island Navy Yard flying our homeward bound pennant.  While the N.O.B. band played and Ginny Simms sang “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” with a lot of brass and civilians on the pier.  Just about all of the crew were on the port side.

original photo of Ginny Simms in RKO Radio’s comedy-musical, “That’s right, You’re Wrong!”
Taken in 1939 by Gaston Longst of RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.


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Forties Glam, chapter 1


While we were in Pearl Harbor, I went to school.  I had to take over the airplane recognition classes for all the divisions who were on the main deck and above.  They were in a position to see aircraft and ships.  I had to teach them how to recognize the planes  –  if they were friendly or if they were the enemy.  I took that duty over, so they sent me to a special school for instructors throughout the Navy where they learned about preparation and how to teach classes and how to keep the guys’ interest up.

That was very important because most of the time, if you get a sailor in a classroom, he’s so tired because of lack of sleep  –  that’s the one thing, we never had enough sleep.  So these guys would start falling asleep in class.  I got cute here and there I’d stick in a picture of Betty Grable in a bathing suit.  That’d wake them up!  That’s how I kept my classes going.     Pat Fedele (from Baked Beans, Vol. 1)

Reminders:  If a loved one served aboard the Boston and you have not sent us a picture (preferably in uniform), my question is:  why not?  Before we launched this web/blog site, my Brother Bill created a computer program that integrated the records of all Enlisted Men who served aboard the ship between Commissioning Day and De-activation Day.       If you scroll through the Crew Records button and type in a name, his crew records will appear.  If there is no picture or no biography, it’s because you haven’t sent us one.  If you have sent us one in the past and it isn’t there – let us know so we can correct that.

Facebook users:  there is a Facebook Group: USS Boston CA-69.  Sometimes I re-post blogs from this site (the 40’s Glam posts will be in both places), but not always.  Join the Group!  Post stuff!


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John Farkas


Readers of the Baked Beans books will surely recognize the name John Farkas.  He was one of the original crewmembers that I was lucky enough to have met and interviewed.  John’s son Joe recently sent me some pictures that he came across.

(L) John Farkas and buddy in Boston

(L) John and buddies – Pearl Harbor (R) Jim Myres

Joe also sent a picture of his dad’s Crossing the Line card (March 9, 1944) when he and his shipmates were initiated into the Realm of King Neptune and became Shellbacks.  Check out Vol 2 of Baked Beans and read John’s cool stories about the initiation shenanigans!

Thanks Joe.

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Memorial Day


Deise Nickless sent us these pictures of her dad, James F. Payne (COX).  He served aboard the Boston from the 15th of September 1943 and left the ship on the 26th of February, 1946, when she arrived at San Francisco after Occupation Duty.  He went on to serve in Korea and Viet Nam as a member of the Air Force.

If James Payne looks young in these pictures  –  well, he is young.  He lied about his age and enlisted when he was 16 years old.

James F. Payne, right

J. F. Payne, front row, right, with buddies in front of a Frankie Carle and his Orchestra poster.

(If anyone recognizes any of the sailors in these photos, let us know.)

I realize that what I’m about to say might be unfair, and a case of comparing apples to oranges . . . but I work in a high school full of super-privileged kids, and almost everyday I can’t help think about how more than 70 years ago young men their age answered the call and fought a grueling war for their country.  I shudder to think what would happen today.

To America’s men and women who put on a uniform and fought for our country  –  we are grateful for your service.

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Books revised


Happy Mother’s Day.  Where would we be without mothers (existential and rhetorical question) ?

Not sure which particular blend of character strengths (and flaws!) came my way from my mother, but maybe it’s appropriate that I announce the completion of a major (and final) revision of the Baked Beans books.  I could give any number of reasons why I decided to rework the books (is that you nagging me, Mom???) but ultimately I wanted to change the focus of the first books (from a chronicle of the ship geared towards families and friends of crewmembers).  The story of the Boston really is the story of the U.S. Navy’s incredible victory over Japan; as seen through the many Operations carried out by Task Force 58 and 38.  In this sense, the revised books are more durable historical documents.  I’m hoping they have “staying power.”

The biggest news here is that the revised books are available in Kindle format.  Books are all priced $14.95 each (all 3 for $40.95 and free shipping when purchased through the website  –  same as before).  For anyone who wants to “upgrade”  but has already purchased books –  I’ll be happy to send you new ones at my cost and shipping.  Email me at  There are folks out there who have helped me by sharing photos, documents, etc that I have used in the books – sit tight, I’ll be getting back to you with complimentary copies.  ANYONE who has purchased Baked Beans books through either Amazon or my website in the last month or so, contact me and I’ll replace them.  A few copies slipped through the cracks in draft mode – not quite final-edited.  OOPS.

Anyway, I’m now really satisfied with the books.  Done.  (Not really done.  Started revising “A Bird’s Eye View”)



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