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|Donald Wallace Bowman||J Nick Balcerski||Floyd V. Wood||non-crew member killed in action||Roy C. Vaught|
|Pennsy History||Chuck Ellis||Bridges @ Toko-ri||David O. Cutler|
Below is a few E-Mails that I have received andmore will be added in the future. I want to thank all those who have sent me theirthoughts and ideas. Without the participation of YOU the readers, this sitewould not be possible.
Be sure to remove the "NoSpam_"from email addresses when responding !!!
Sent: Saturday, December 07, 2002 9:58 AM
Subject: Here is an item from our local newspaper on Dec 7, 2002 about aPennsylvania shipmate Chuck Ellis
Thought you may want to use it in someway. Just for info
The Florida Times Union
(Jacksonville FL Daily Newspaper)
Devoted to the Beaches Communities
Adjacent to Jacksonville FL which includes Ponte Vedra Beach FL.
Saturday December 7th 2002
RECALLING A DAY OF INFAMY
Pearl harbor still vivid to these veterans from the Beaches and throughout Jacksonville get together frequently through the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association to reminisce and keep in touch. They have a motto that they find especially relevant for post 9-11 America: Remember Pearl Harbor -Keep America Alert.
Included are the Pearl harbor stories of three Beaches men. (It includes PO3John Rutter who was serving on the USS RALEIGH on December 7th, 1941, and an Army Officer. This letter is to provide you with the information on the third member of the item, Chuck Ellis, now a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL who was a Seaman on the USS PENNSYLVANIA (BB-38).
He was an instant Pearl Harbor veteran. He reminisced this week about his adventures six decades ago. He was a Seaman aboard the PENNSYLVANIA, the flagship of the eight-battleship fleet in the harbor that day. His ship was in dry dock nest to land, near the others that formed battleship row.
Ellis had just finished breakfast and was heading to his work station when he heard alarms go off. He headed to his battle station instead-an enclosed turret that housed guns designed for targeting ships. "There was nothing we could do," said Ellis, since all the action was in the air.
A 500 pound bomb landed on the ship, about 75 feet from Ellis' turret. He heard more explosions and peeked through the gun sights to see what was happening. The battleship USS Oklahoma was nearby and he watched it sink."She was turning over at a 45 degree angle," Ellis said. "that was the most awesome sight I ever saw-- a battleship that size turning over"
Between raids, Ellis led a work party outside to flood the dry docks so the ship could set sail if the need arose. As they opened the water valves, they saw the two ships ahead of them on fire. Off in the distance, they could see a Japanese plane. Ellis said he doesn't remember being scared. "I don't think I really thought about it," he said, "We had it to do and that's what we did."
After two hours, the bombing stopped. Ellis spent all afternoon loading anti-aircraft ammunition. That evening, the ship's crew was issued rifles and ammunition after being told the Japanese might have landed nearby. "that would have been a scene,"Ellis said. "We had not been trained for that." The rumors about the Japanese landing on the island were false and they did not have to go ashore. Instead, they spent several weeks cleaning and repairing the ship then headed back to the U.S. mainland for further repairs.
As the war raged, Ellis volunteered for flight training and became a flier. He served aboard the USS Wilkes-Barre in the western pacific for two years and was in Tokyo Bay at the end of the war when the Japanese surrendered during a ceremony aboard a nearby ship.
"I was at both end," Ellis said. "the beginning (of the war) and the end. Not many can say that.?
Submittedby Howard F. Renforth, USS Pennsylvania Crewman
From: Steven Sybert (NoSpam_heavyweight01@hotmail.com)
Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2002 6:24 PM
Subject: Pennsy History
Follow Up Flag: Post email Flag
Thanks, Ken, thanks for everything you have done to keep the memory of the Pennsy alive. Dad told me stories of the Pennsy that took place while he was aboard, and that's how I found out about it. The Pennsylvania was not mentioned but very little in history and reference books and that is a shame, after playing such a heavy role in the victory in the Pacific. The first time the Pennsylvania went to the Westpac after Pearl Harbor, it was a Japanese lake. It took real guts to go where she went, so early in the war. And that was just the beginning. So, now, the Pennsy is not mentioned much in the history books, but your site truly has put her on the map. Someone needed to make the story of the Pennsy known to the public, and you have in a big way. I'd like to see 'em make a movie about the old girl someday, and they'll have to go to you to make it authentic. Again, thanks for doing what you do, and thanks a million for putting the Pennsylvania on the map, and finally getting her and her crew the recognition they deserve.
STEVEN M. SYBERT
P.S. they tell me the Pennsy Reunion will take place inBranson, MO in 2003. Is there any way I can go? I'd like to meet some of thepeople who served on the Pennsy around the time my Dad was aboard. I'd like tomeet these guys while they are still around.
Yes there is and it will be in Sept of 2003, more later on this..
From: Patricia Arie [NoSpam_patarie@cox.net]
Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 3:57 PM
Subject: Memorial Addition
I had a pleasant evening surfing the USS Pennsylvania sitelast night after our email conversations. I read the log book and recognized some of the places my Dad told me about. Today I looked and looked for the pictures I mentioned but I can't find them. I will continue to look and forwardwhen I find them.
My Father's name was David O. Cutler (nickname"DOC"); he was in the "CR" Division. He died on August 2,1986. He entered the US Navy on May 10, 1939 and was discharged on October 28,1945.
Dad served as Chief Radio Man on the USS Pennsylvania and was on board in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I remember him telling me about that morning. He had just finished breakfast and had gone topside for a smoke when the general quarters was sounded. He returned to the radio room to tune inand find out what was going on and learned of the attack. I remember him telling me he thought at least the ship wouldn't sink because it was in dry dock. Thenhe told me he could hear and feel the shocks from the bombs. He told me two bombs hit the ship and one of the bombs killed an entire crew of Marines who were loading ammunition into machine gun belts. He said there was no panic after the attack, just stunned sailors. He told me other stories, one about Australia and something about drinking hot beer cause they didn't serve it cold. But I can't remember them as well as the Pearl Harbor account. I believe I remember him telling me that he was on ship for 21 months ? without stepping foot on the soil, but that memory is less vivid.
My father was one of the lucky ones to live through Pearl Harbor and return home.
I am so happy I found the web site for the USS Pennsylvaniaand thank you for adding Dad's name to the memory list. He was proud to haveserved his country.
Thank you again.
Please include my email address in case someone happens to recognize Dad's name.
I will continue to look for the pictures.
Sent in By Sharon Pryor 9/1/01
Subject: The Bridges at Toko-ri:
The Real Story by CAPT Paul N. Gray, USN, Ret, USNA '41, former CO of VF-54.
Recently, some friends saw the movie "The Bridges at Toko-ri" on late night TV. After seeing it, they said, "You planned and led the raid. Why don't you tell us what really happened?" Here goes.
I hope Mr. Michener will forgive the actual version of the raid. His fictionalized account certainly makes more exciting reading.
On 12 December 1951 when the raid took place, Air Group 5 was attached to Essex, the flag ship for Task Force 77. We were flying daily strikes againstthe North Koreans and Chinese. God! It was cold. The main job was to interdict the flow of supplies coming south from Russia and China. The rulesof engagement imposed by political forces in Washington would not allow us to bomb the bridges across the Yalu River where the supplies could easily havebeen stopped. We had to wait until they were dispersed and hidden in North Korea and then try to stop them.
The Air Group consisted of two jet fighter squadrons flying Banshees and Grumman Panthers plus two prop attack squadrons flying Corsairs and Skyraiders. To provide a base for the squadrons, Essex was stationed 100 miles off the East Coast of Korea during that bitter Winter of 1951 and 1952.
I was CO of VF-54, the Skyraider squadron. VF-54 started with 24 pilots. Seven were killed during the cruise. The reason 30 percent of our pilots wereshot down and lost was due to our mission. The targets were usually heavily defended railroad bridges. In addition, we were frequently called in to makelow-level runs with rockets and napalm to provide close support for the troops.
Due to the nature of the targets assigned, the attack squadrons seldom flew above 2000 or 3000 feet; and it was a rare flight when a plane did not comeback without some damage from AA or ground fire.
The single-engine plane we flew could carry the same bomb load that a B-17 carried in WWII; and after flying the 100 miles from the carrier, we couldstay on station for 4 hours and strafe, drop napalm, fire rockets or drop bombs. The Skyraider was the right plane for this war.
On a gray December morning, I was called to the flag bridge. Admiral "Black Jack" Perry, the Carrier Division Commander, told me they had a classifiedrequest from UN headquarter to bomb some critical bridges in the central area of the North Korean peninsula. The bridges were a dispersion point for many
of the supplies coming down from the North and were vital to the flow of most of the essential supplies. The Admiral asked me to take a look at the targets and see what we could do about taking them out. As I left, the staff intelligence officer handed me the pre-strike photos, the coordinates of the target and said to get on with it. He didn't mention that the bridges were defended by 56 radar-controlled anti-aircraft guns.
That same evening, the Admiral invited the four squadron commanders to his
cabin for dinner. James Michener was there. After dinner, the Admiral asked each
squadron commander to describe his experiences in flying over North Korea. By
this time, all of us were hardened veterans of the war and had some hairy
stories to tell about life in the fast lane over North Korea.
When it came my time, I described how we bombed the railways and strafed anything else that moved. I described how we had planned for the next day's strike against some vital railway bridges near a village named Toko-ri (The actual village was named Majonne). That the preparations had been done with extra care because the pre-strike pictures showed the bridges were surrounded by 56 anti-aircraft guns and we knew this strike was not going to be a walk in the park.
All of the pilots scheduled for the raid participated in the planning. A close study of the aerial photos confirmed the 56 guns. Eleven radar sites controlled the guns. They were mainly 37 MM with some five inch heavies. All were positioned to concentrate on the path we would have to fly to hit the bridges. This was a World War II air defense system but still very dangerous.
How were we going to silence those batteries long enough to destroy the bridges? The bridges supported railway tracks about three feet wide. To achieve the needed accuracy, we would have to use glide bombing runs. A glide bombing run is longer and slower than a dive bombing run, and we would be sitting ducks for the AA batteries. We had to get the guns before we bombed the bridges.
There were four strategies discussed to take out the radar sites. One was to fly in on the deck and strafe the guns and radars. This was discarded because the area was too mountainous. The second was to fly in on the deck and fire rockets into the gun sites. Discarded because the rockets didn't have enough killing power. The third was to come in at a high altitude and drop conventional bombs on the targets. This is what we would normally do, but it was discarded in favor of an insidious modification. The one we thought would work the best was to come in high and drop bombs fused to explode over the gun and radar sites. To do this, we decided to take 12 planes; 8 Skyraiders and 4 Corsairs. Each plane would carry a 2000 pound bomb with a proximity fuse set to detonate about 50 to 100 feet in the air. We hoped the shrapnel from these huge, ugly bombs going off in mid air would be devastating to the exposed gunners and radar operators.
The flight plan was to fly in at 15,000 feet until over the target area and make a vertical dive bombing run dropping the proximity-fused bombs on the guns and radars. Each pilot had a specific complex to hit. As we approached the target we started to pick up some flak, but it was high and behind us. At the initial point, we separated and rolled into the dive. Now the flak really became heavy. I rolled in first; and after I released my bomb, I pulled out south of the target area and waited for the rest to join up. One of the Corsairs reported that he had been hit on the way down and had to pull out before dropping his bomb. Three other planes suffered minor flak damage but nothing serious.
After the join up, I detached from the group and flew over the area to see if there was anything still firing. Sure enough there was heavy 37 MM fire from one site, I got out of there in a hurry and called in the reserve Skyraider still circling at 15,000 to hit the remaining gun site. His 2000pound bomb exploded right over the target and suddenly things became very quiet. The shrapnel from those 2000 lbs. bombs must have been deadly for the crews serving the guns and radars. We never saw another 37 MM burst from any of the 56 guns.
From that moment on, it was just another day at the office. Only sporadic machine gun and small arms fire was encountered. We made repeated glide bombing runs and completely destroyed all the bridges. We even brought gun camera pictures back to prove the bridges were destroyed.
After a final check of the target area, we joined up, inspected our wingmen for damage and headed home. Mr. Michener plus most of the ship's crew watched from Vulture's Row as Dog Fannin, the landing signal officer, brought us back aboard. With all the pilots returning to the ship safe and on time,the Admiral was seen to be dancing with joy on the flag Bridge.
From that moment on, the Admiral had a soft spot in his heart for the attack pilots. I think his fatherly regard for us had a bearing on what happened in port after the raid on Toko-ri. The raid on Toko-ri was exciting; but in our minds, it was dwarfed by the incident that occurred at the end of this tour on the line. The operation was officially named OPERATION PINWHEEL. The pilots called it OPERATION PINHEAD.
The third tour had been particularly savage for VF-54. Five of our pilots had been shot down. Three not recovered. I had been shot down for the third time. The mechanics and ordnance men had worked back-breaking hours under medieval conditions to keep the planes flying, and finally we were headed for Yokosuka for ten days of desperately needed R & R.
As we steamed up the coast of Japan, the Air Group Commander, CDR Marsh Beebe, called CDR Trum, the CO of the Corsair squadron, and me to his office.He told us that the prop squadrons would participate in an exercise dreamed up by the commanding officer of the ship. It had been named OPERATION PINWHEEL.
The Corsairs and Sky raiders were to be tied down on the port side of the flight deck; and upon signal from the bridge, all engines were to be turnedup to full power to assist the tugs in pulling the ship along side the dock.
CDR Trum and I both said to Beebe, "You realize that those engines are vital to the survival of all the attack pilots. We fly those single engine planes300 to 400 miles from the ship over freezing water and over very hostile land. Over stressing these engines is not going to make any of us very happy." Marsh knew the danger; but he said, "The captain of the ship, CAPT.Wheelock, wants this done, so do it!"
As soon as the news of this brilliant scheme hit the ready rooms, the operation was quickly named OPERATION PIN HEAD; and CAPT. Wheelock became known as CAPT. Wheelchock.
On the evening before arriving in port, I talked with CDR Trum and told him, "I don't know what you are going to do, but I am telling my pilots that our lives depend on those engines and do not give them more than half power; and if that engine temperature even begins to rise, cut back to idle." That is what they did.
About an hour after the ship had been secured to the dock, the Air Group Commander screamed over the ships intercom for Gray and Trum to report to his office. When we walked in and saw the pale look on Beebe's face, it was apparent that CAPT. Wheelock, in conjunction with the ship's proctologist, had cut a new aperture in poor old Marsh. The ship's CO had gone ballistic when he didn't get the full power from the lashed down Corsairs and Skyraiders, and he informed CDR Beebe that his fitness report would reflect this miserable performance of duty.
The Air Group Commander had flown his share of strikes, and it was a shame that he became the focus of the wrath of CAPT. Wheelock for something he had not done. However, tensions were high; and in the heat of the moment, he informed CDR Trum and me that he was placing both of us and all our pilots in hack until further notice. A very severe sentence after 30 days on the line.
The Carrier Division Commander, Rear Admiral "Black Jack" Perry a personally
soft and considerate man, but his official character would strike terror into
the heart of the most hardened criminal. He loved to talk to the pilots; and in
deference to his drinking days, Admiral Perry would reserve a table in the bar
of the Fujia Hotel and would sit there drinking Coca cola while buying drinks
for any pilot enjoying R & R in the hotel.
Even though we were not comfortable with this gruff older man, he was a good listener and everyone enjoyed telling the Admiral about his latest escape from death. I realize now he was keeping his finger on the morale of the pilots and how they were standing up to the terror of daily flights over a very hostile land.
The Admiral had been in the hotel about three days; and one night, he said to some of the fighter pilots sitting at his table, "Where are the attack pilots? I have not seen any of them since we arrived." One of them said, "Admiral, I thought you knew. They were all put in hack by the Air Group Commander and restricted to the ship." In a voice that could be heard all over the hotel, the Admiral bellowed to his aide, "Get that idiot Beebe on the phone in 5 minutes; and I don't care if you have to use the Shore Patrol, the Army Military Police or the Japanese Police to find him. I want him on the telephone NOW!"
The next morning, after three days in hack, the attack pilots had just finished marching lockstep into the wardroom for breakfast, singing the prisoners song when the word came over the loud speaker for Gray and Trum to report to the Air Group Commander's stateroom immediately, When we walked in,there sat Marsh looking like he had had a near death experience. He was obviously in far worse condition than when the ships CO got through with him.It was apparent that he had been worked over by a real pro.
In a trembling voice, his only words were, "The hack is lifted. All of you are free to go ashore. There will not be any note of this in your fitness reports. Now get out of here and leave me alone."
Posters saying, "Thank you Black Jack" went up in the ready rooms. The long delayed liberty was at hand.
When writing about this cruise, I must pay homage to the talent we had in the squadrons. LTJG Tom Hayward was a fighter pilot who went on to become the CNO. LTJG Neil Armstrong another fighter pilot became the astronaut who took the first step on the moon. My wing man, Ken Shugart, was an all-American basketball player and later an admiral. Al Masson, another wing man, became the owner of one of New Orleans' most famous French restaurants. All of the squadrons were manned with the best and brightest young men the U.S. could produce. The mechanics and ordnance crews who kept the planes armed and flying deserve as much praise as the pilots for without the effort they expended, working day and night under cold and brutal conditions, no flight would have been flown.
It was a dangerous cruise. I will always consider it an honor to have associated with those young men who served with such bravery and dignity. The officers and men of this air group once again demonstrated what makes America the most outstanding country in the world today. To those whose spirits were taken from them during those grim days and didn't come back, I will always remember you."
Paul N. Gray, USN, Ret, USNA '41
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2001 8:55 PM
Subject: Re: Roy C. Vaught R division
What do you mean by 3 in seniority? Dad has told me very few war stories. Hesigned on later in the war. He had a deferment because he worked in the BostonShip yards during most of the war. He was a welder, a relatively new occupationat that time. His mother saved all his letters home, and it tells an interestingside to the war. At first he worked with men. Eventually he became a trainer.Then he worked with old men, eventually women and minorities. He was a verysmall guy and usually got jobs welding in places too small for other people. Hesigned up for the navy one day and then told his boss in the shipyard. His bosstold him he couldn't quit and sign up, but dad said "I already did"and walked off. He signed up in 44 I think.
Dad used to make jewelry in his free time. He would then trade the jewelry tothe kitchen staff for fresh eggs. He was not restricted to one area, duringgeneral quarters. He was almost washed overboard once. He hated the sleepingquarters and usually slept on deck somewhere. A big wave came along and almostput him to sleep permanently.
After the torpedo, one of his jobs was checking to see if the ship was anylower in the water. at one point, he could reach over and touch the water. Healso tells the story that the officers booze was in a part of the ship that wasflooded. A number of guys took swam down and stole the officers booze and gotdrunk. (not him of course)
Another story was about a guy that was trapped in a sealed compartment afterthe torpedo hit. Special permission was needed to open the water tightcompartments to let him out. This process took time, but finally the fella wasallowed out. Dad said the guy was so crazy from the experience that he wouldtake off running until he ran into something and it would knock him down. Theyalso claim that being trapped turned his hair white overnight. Once the ship wasready for repairs, dad was one of the men that had to go
into the area (where the men had died) to do repairs.
That is about all I know,
From: James L. Hicks
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2001 10:25 PM
Subject: Re: Memorial Addition, Floyd V. Wood
Floyd Wood is my grandfather. I looked through the little bit of writtenfamily history we have here, but didn't come up with too much. I don't know whatdivision he was in or what his duties were. The few military records I couldfind listed his rating as BM 2/c, and I remember him telling me that he was"in the crow's nest" during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I wish I could tell you more....
From: James L. Hicks
Sent: Saturday, June 09, 2001 11:50 PM
Subject: Re: Floyd V. Wood
You bet. I'll let you know when I get the rest of the info (thanks for thelinks!). The Pennsy has a special place in our family, since it's pretty muchwhere my family got started.... my grand father met a fellow shipmate who was breaking up with his girlfriend back home, and it turns out that he was from my grandpa's boyhood hometown and he knew the girl.... he wrote her a few letters and it went on from there.... they got married later during the war. The girlwas my grandmother.
Great site, BTW. I think I spent about two hours soaking up each and every page, which is saying quite a bit since I usually don't spend more than 20 minutes at a site when I'm surfing the web. =)
I've been looking for things to contribute, but so far there's nothing that has to do with the Pennsy other than an old postcard (I think you have the imagealready). I remember seeing the Christmas menu for 1941 (similar to the one you have for 1945), but I can't find it. It might have gone to another relative....but I'll keep looking. Found a scrapbook of old pics of Hawaii in 1941 (and one with two carriers at sea). There's also a few pics of officers and crewman whichI assume were taken aboard her (not labeled, so their identities are unknown tome) Once I get my scanner working again I'll go ahead and scan them and let you pick and choose which ones you want to use, if any.
From: James L. Hicks
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2001 1:51 PM
Subject: Re: Floyd Wood
My grandmother saved all those old letters. I tried reading them once, but Ifelt like I was invading their privacy. This time around I didn't feel that way,probably because they've both been gone for over ten years. It was prettyinteresting, and I saw the old man in a whole different light -- at that time hewas still very much an Iowa farm boy, and the letter read like "Aw,shucks.... will you be my girl?" It was a side I'd never seen.
From: James Lee [NoSpam_jameslee@bucknell.edu]
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2001 11:41 AM
Subject: non-crew member killed in action
My mother (now deceased) was at Pearl Harbor with her first husband, GM1c
Andrew Marze, a crew member of the USS DOBBIN. Marze was killed aboard the
PENNSYLVANIA during the Japanese attack. They lived at the time in Navy
housing in the Navy Yard. Do any of the survivors know of non-crew members
coming aboard during the attack? Was this unusual?
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
From: James Lee [NoSpam_jameslee@bucknell.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 12:09 PM
Subject: RE: non-crew member killed in action
Thanks for your speedy reply. The information you have included with theother emails most likely has answered my immediate question. Apparently, a tleast a half a dozen men from other ships were killed aboard the PENNSYLVANIA.My guess is that they were living in the nearby Navy housing and made it to the closest ship possible. In the case of Andrew Marze, the DOBBIN was located northof Fords Island, a considerable distance away from the Navy Yard and drydockarea - the PENNSYLVANIA was just down the street.
I do appreciate if you pass my request for information on to survivingPENNSYLVANIA crew members. While I don't expect they would remember anindividual sailor from another ship, some might remember that non-crew memberscame aboard during that chaotic day.
Also, can you suggest a way to contact DOBBIN Pearl Harbor survivors, so thatI can try to get more information on Andrew Marze?
Again, thank you for your prompt and thorough response.
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2001 4:51 PM
Subject: Fwd: Reply to search for J. Nick Balcerski
I'm tickled pink (get it with the pink color). I am forwarding you twoE-mails I received. Remember Arnold Strang looking for Nick Balcerski????Well Look what YOUR web site accomplished.
From: Karen Peters
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2001 6:54 AM
Subject: Reply to search for J. Nick Balcerski
My brother and I found your site after taking my father to see the movie"Pearl Harbor" on father's day. This had sparked a lot of family history stories about WWII. My father, J. Nick Balcer is mentioned in your search and I would love to get him in touch with Arnold Strang. That was a very interesting story to us as Dad is not one to boast about his war efforts as hewas one of so many wonderful and brave people that fought for our country.
Please e-mail me information that I may forward to my father. Many thanks and we applaud what you are accomplishing via your Web site.
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2001 4:56 PM
Subject: Fwd: Reply to search for J. Nick Balcerski
Here is the second E-mail. Would you believe that of all times Arnie and Ruth are out having fun and we cannot give them the great news. Well, wewill just keep calling them. As this E-mail says, Karen Peters will contact me and we can get these two Heroes together. Maybe you can get more great stories for your site !
To: Karen Peters
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2001 8:07 PM
Subject: Re: Reply to search for J. Nick Balcerski
This is Jim Harriott, son-in-law of Arnold Strang. In your e-mail youmentioned your father, J. Nick Balcer. Did you miss some letters or is thatyour name? Is that your father who is mentioned in Arnold Strangs letter.
Please let me know. Please call me in Cape Coral, Flordia at (941) ***-****. I have some questions please.
From: Karen Peters
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2001 7:00 AM
Subject: Re: Reply to search for J. Nick Balcerski
Thank you for responding so quickly.Arnold Strang's story touched an important cord in our family.
When my parents got married they shortened their last name to Balcer. (So that is probably one of the reasons that it was difficult to locate my Dad.)
My brother e-mailed me recently to tell me about the USS Pennsylvania site in the Web. He thought my Dad would get a kick out of looking at it since we recently saw the movie "Pearl Harbor" together during a Fathers' Day family reunion. This sparked some WWII discussions at a family barbeque, as well as a look at some of my father's memorabilia from his time on the ship. A recent move for my parents from CT to relocate them near my husband and I in PA ( how ironic) had all the items neatly packed in a box and readily available.
While looking through the USS Pennsylvania site on the Web, I did a site search using my father's name, I only expected to locate his name on a roster or the same photo we had seen so many times before as kids when Dad showed us the Ship Yearbook or talked about his division participating in the Tyrone Powers movie "Crash Dive." But to my surprise, I came across your father-in-law's story and a request for locate J. Nick Balcerski. I immediately forwarded the discovered pages to my brother and also made a copy to give to my parents.
We were all extremely touched by the story since we heard Dad talk about some of the incidents on the ship in generalities but had not heard the details. It was an honor to read the story written by Arnold Strang. It is a miracle and we are grateful that both young men survived the incident and carried on long lives into their senior years.
As I am writing this response to you I am so thrilled and would love to call you right now but I think it would be nice to give your information to my Dad,when I stop by to see him later today, as a follow-up to yesterday's whirlwind discovery. Then he could give you a call to answer your questions directly.
Many thanks to you and your family.
Karen J. Peters
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 6:28 PM
Subject: Thank You
I just wanted to let you know that Dad Strang and Nick Balcer(ski) finallygot together on the phone (I think Dad had some phone problems). He sounded veryexcited about talking with an old friend.
He wanted me to pass on his warmest THANK YOU for your efforts in making this
reunion possible. Now they have to meet in person. I really didn't realize theyhaven't had contact in over 50 years. That is hard to comprehend.
One more thing, Dad gave me more names he would love to find. I'll get backwith you when he sends them to me.
Thank You again,
Jim and Kay Harriott
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2001 11:11 AM
Subject: USS Pennsylvania Memorial - Marvin Reece
Follow Up Flag: Memorial addition & Email Call
My father , Marvin Reece, served on the Pennsy from 1943 - 1945. Heserved
in the 10th division, I believe as a gunner. He died of lung cancer
(possibly caused by asbestos from the ship) in October 1985. My birthdayis
Pearl Harbor Day, and my oldest sister's is Veteran's Day - Go USA!
A memory that always brings a smile is remembering when I would ask mydad
"What boat were you on?" He would answer, "It's a not aboat, it's a ship."
As a child, I didn't see much difference!! But even my daughters knowthe
saying and the love with which I remember his response. He was so proudof
his participation in the U.S. Navy.
This site is fantastic! How wonderful to see the photos online!
Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2001 7:21 AM
Subject: Info on former USS Penn Aviator Lt. JG Donald Wallace Bowman
Follow Up Flag: Newsletter
Flag Status: Flagged
What is the best way to try and find out any
information about my Dad who was
at Pearl Harbor? The navy has not supplied any information that explains
what we believe he did on Pearl Harbor Day.
My Dad was Lt. JG Donald Wallace Bowman, assigned to the USS Pennsylvania and
was an aviator. He was not assigned to fly that day as my Mom,Elizabeth
(Betty) Bowman had just arrived the day before and they were moving into a
small home Dad had rented. Mom spent most of the night of the 6thscrubbing
walls and floors and was exhausted. When she woke there was smoke everywhere
and Dad had driven frantically to the base to see what he could do. Our
understanding is that Dad got a hold of some plane (not sure if it was one
assigned to him or not) and got up in the air only to be forced down pretty
quick. He was awarded the Navy Flying Cross. He would never talk about that
day to any of us children. He always made a joke about why he got any of his
medals. What info would be helpful? His service number? He was born in
North Dakota and Mom was from Chicago. I know she was assigned to operate
the switchboard when she went down to the base to find out what was
happening. Is there any pearl harbor group specific to the Pennsylvania? I
think Dad had just been assigned to the ship and was assigned to another
since it was in repair after the bombing. We have his flight diary (which is
blank for the 7th) which lists the kind of plane he was flying then. Dad
died in 1996 and retired from the Navy as a Captain in 1965 while living in
Arlington, VA where he was last stationed. Appreciate any advice or help you
Kathleen Bowman Thompson
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2001 8:55 PM
Subject: Re: Roy C. Vaught R division
Follow Up Flag: email call
Flag Status: Flagged
Dad has told me very few war stories. He signed on later in the war. He hada
deferment because he worked in the Boston Ship yards during most of thewar.
He was a welder, a relatively new occupation at that time. His mothersaved
all his letters home, and it tells an interesting side to the war. Atfirst
he worked with men. Eventually he became a trainer. Then he worked withold
men, eventually women and minorities. He was a very small guy and usuallygot
jobs welding in places too small for other people. He signed up for thenavy
one day and then told his boss in the shipyard. His boss told him hecouldn't
quit and sign up, but dad said "I already did" and walked off.
He signed up in 44 I think.
Dad used to make jewelry in his free time. He would then trade the jewelryto
the kitchen staff for fresh eggs.
He was not restricted to one area, during general quarters.
He was almost washed overboard once. He hated the sleeping quarters and
usually slept on deck somewhere. A big wave came along and almost put himto
After the torpedo, one of his jobs was checking to see if the ship wasany
lower in the water, at one point he could reach over and touch the water.
He also tells the story that the officers booze was in a part of theship
that was flooded. A number of guys swam down and stole the officers
booze and got drunk. (not him of course)
Another story was about a guy that was trapped in a sealed compartmentafter
the torpedo hit. Special permission was needed to open the water tight
compartments to let him out. This process took time, but finally the fella
was allowed out. Dad said the guy was so crazy from the experience that he
would take off running until he ran into something and it would knock him
down. They also claim that being trapped turned his hair white overnight.
Once the ship was ready for repairs, dad was one of the men that had togo
into the area (where the men had died) to do repairs.
That is about all I know,
From: Maxine Stanley [NoSpam_mvacstanley@mindspring.com]
Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2001 10:57 PM
Subject: 11-16-34 Before WWII
Follow Up Flag: memorial
Flag Status: Flagged
My father, Valleon Sylvester, was on the USS Pennsylvania 11-16-34 to 6-11-35. His last ship was USS Finch, sunk in 1942. He was POW after Corregidor and died on thehell-ship Arisan Maru. I am his daughter and searching for links to him. Thank you.
I responded asking for more details about her fatherand I wanted to know if she wanted me to add him to the memorial...
From: Maxine Stanley [NoSpam_mvacstanley@mindspring.com]
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001 3:59 PM
To: Pennsy Web
Subject: RE: 11-16-34 Before WWII
Follow Up Flag: web
Flag Status: Flagged
Ken, Thank you for responding. I would love to say "yes, please add his name" but he is memorialized on the Wall of the Missing in the Philippines. I have received a picture of his memorial and have been able to arrange for flowers to be placed there this last year. That was quite a thrill. I've never known much about my father, when or where he died, until 1998 when I was fortunate to be in touch with a group called American War Orphans Network (AWON) whose founder, Ann Mix, began the search for her father in 1990. Her efforts grew into a wondrous compilation of ways to obtain information otherwise not known by the children/family of the war casualty. My information is growing and I am always grateful for the responses, such as yours, because it gives me great comfort. My father's life has been a mystery to me...I have yet to find out personal information such as parents, sibling, schooling, but I will keep trying. Thank youagain, Ken.
I again responded telling Maxine that should andcould be added to the Pennsy Memorial, here is her reply:
From: Maxine Stanley [NoSpam_mvacstanley@mindspring.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2001 12:00 AM
To: Pennsy Web
Subject: RE: 11-16-34 Before WWII
Follow Up Flag: Web
Flag Status: Flagged
Ken, thank you for your continuing interest. Yes, I would like my father's name everywhere. My mother, his wife, never spoke of him after his death, she is still living, never remarried, and will not speak of him yet. I was born 8-10-31 in Long Beach, CA, lived in San Diego, CA and remember seeing him several times So all this information I've obtained is helping to heal a long-time buried grief that I couldn't share. If you do indeed put him on the web, I can add a few details from which you can pick and choose. He was born 5-4-03 Philadelphia, PA. ( I have no information between these dates) Enlisted USN 9-12-27 at San Francisco, CA. Assigned USS Maryland 1-9-28, S1c, and was member of USS Maryland Signal Force which won Signal trophy for visual communication among battleships during year 1928-1929. 6-12-31 qualified as expert rifleman.
On 9-10-31 he Reenlisted for 4 years. 12-11-31 assigned to the USS West Virginia "Served on board 1931-1932 whenthe ship won a battle efficiency pennant, gunnery trophy and engineering red E. Officers and crew collectively commended by President and Secretary of Navy". He was on USS California, USS New Mexico, and 11-16-34 USS Pennsylvania. 6-11-35 to USS Melville, USS Dorsey,reenlisted again for 4 years 9-12-38 to again USS West Virginia, USS Henderson , USS Finch where in 7-6-39 the USS Finch wins 1st place in a rifle shoot between USS Finch, USS Augusta, and USS Tulsa. V. Sylvester wins first place. 3-1-42 appointed CQM(Chief Quarter Master) (AA). My mother received two postcards one month apart 3-17-42, censored to read "I am well. Letter follows at first opportunity. I have received no letters from you for a long time". The last postcard, undated, is from Philippine Military Prison Camp No.# 3 (Imperial Japanese Army) "I hope this ends soon.&nbs! p; I am impatient to be home. All is well, give my regards to everyone. Love, Val."
One other very large scrap of paper came somehow (undated) attached to it is a note "I am Valleon Sylvester CQM USN Anyone hearing this please notify (wife). Received box and letters. Am doing well. Love to all. He writes on this large scrap "V. Sylvester, CQM, USN. We were sweeping the approach to the mind fields on a clear sunny day at the entrance of Manila looking for stray mines. Off in the distance could be seen several enemy planes circling around. At any moment we expected to be attacked by plane or submarine. Suddenly we heard the whine of a plane in a power dive. No one had spotted this plane so we assumed the plane was coming out of the sun. All guns were trained and fired blindly into the sun and in asecond or so the plane was seen. One bomb was dropped which missed us by about 200yards. The plane turned away and disappeared into the distance. No hits, no runs, no errors."
The USS Finch was sunk 4-11-42. On 10-24-44 Valleon Sylvester died on the Japanesehell-ship Arisan Maru along with almost 1,800 men. There were only 5 survivors. He is memorialized at World War II Tablets of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila,Republic of the Philippines.
Sent: Friday, December 08, 2000 7:47 PM
This old man is 68 and retired Pediatrician 14 years active duty then retiredwith near total 24 in the Reserves. One of my partners asked me how to destroy aflag and by luck I received the flag. I would bet it came from BB38. There is noproof but I feel it might be chased down. It was the property of a sea scout orsea scout like group in Reading, Pa. The partner who gave it to me is CathyHoshouer MD, I will send along her email address as soon as I find in my desktreasures. She is anxious to hear from you. I will box up the flag this weekendand it will be on its way next week. Maybe we could become honorary crew members:-)
Al Price MD, Lancaster Pennsylvania
I responded to Mr. Price and told him that I wouldlove to receive it and that I would send it along to the reunion committee foruse at all reunions. I received the flag several weeks later and was absolutelystunned, I immediately wrote to Wade Cunningham (Secretary of the ReunionCommittee) and informed him of this historic item, here is that email:
From: Pennsy Web NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org]
Sent: Saturday, January 13, 2001 12:23 PM
To: (P) Wade Cunningham
Cc: (P) Al Price; (P) Cathy Hoshouer
Subject: Pennsy Ensign
Since beginning this web site three years ago I have been constantly amazedat what my relationship to these crew members and their families has brought toall of us. This has been an amazing journey.
Today I received in the mail the US Flag from the Pennsy, I could hardlybelieve my eyes when I opened the box. This is truly an historical item and itneeds to be with the crew of the Pennsy. Please see the attached email(see above) of the original communication with Mr. Price.
I followed up telling Mr. Price that I would see to it that this flag wasturned over to the reunion committee and maybe it could be displayed at all theupcoming and future reunions. Wade, this is special, please send along yourthoughts about this to me, Al and Cathy. I will take some pictures of it and postit on the web site when I get my camera back from the shop. I will thenforward it to your designee...
Dear Al & Cathy,
You do not know how much this means to so many of these great Americans. Ihave showed several people this Flag and it has invoked tears is some cases.This flag may have flown over one of the greatest warships of WWII. Under hercolors, American Heroes who changed the world, fought and gave their lives sothat we could live the lives we live today. Your attention to the importance ofthis historic item has saved it for future generations and we are forever inyour debt. God bless you and thanks for being there......
Sent: Monday, November 13, 2000 12:32 AM
Subject: Re: Charles Williams
Follow Up Flag: Memorial Flag Status: Flagged
I apologize for the delay. I can confirm that my Grandfather was in BDivision, and that is him shown in the picture on the web site. There was someconfusion at first about the hat he was wearing in the photo, but (I may bewrong, this is coming to you secondhand, it is a foreign services hat, whichbefits an officer.) Nevertheless, there is no doubt from my family that isindeed him.
I did visit your memorial page. For the simple facts, My Grandfather servedon the USS Pennsy from 1941 till the end of the war in 1945, and was a PearlHarbor survivor. He passed away in November, 1989. I would be deeply honored ifyou would add him to the Memorial page.
As his first Grandchild, I consider myself especially lucky to have known himthe longest, and about his life story's, especially about being on the USSPennsylvania. Each December 7th the local TV and newspapers would call upon himto retell the tale. It amazed me how strong he was in talking about the single mostworst attack on US soil in history. I will never forget him telling me that hewas having coffee with a shipmate, walked out onto the deck, only for the roomhe was in seconds ago to have been bombed.
A couple years before he had passed away, he, like many other Pearl Harborsurvivors, made the journey back to Hawaii. As strong a man as he was, I knowthis was exceptionally difficult for him, and to this day, I remember being toldof the nightmares he had on the trip in anticipation of returning to PearlHarbor.
Words cannot express how proud I am to be related to this man, and howhumbled I am for the sacrifices he made for the freedoms I too easily enjoytoday.
Ken, thank you so much for responding to me. On behalf of my entire family,we are grateful that the men who served on the Pennsy will be remembered. Thanksto your site, we were able to see a picture of my Granddad we had never seenbefore, and that in itself is priceless.
From: Chris Faulkner [NoSpam_chrisf@tamu.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 9:37 PM
To: Ken Munro
Subject: Response to your note
I have purchased the "Reign of Fire" print to hang in my officehere at Texas A&M University. There are many reasons why I like this print.The first is that I am a World War II history buff. The second is that I am fromPennsylvania and I am proud of the states veterans who have fought in all wars.I have a co-worker who collects Civil War prints and he showed me some prints byMark Churms and I was immediately impressed with his work. Correct me if I amwrong, but wasn't the Arizona the sister ship of the Pennsy? If this was thecase it would be nice to commission Mr. Churms to do a painting that depictedthe two ships, one as a ghost (Arizona) along side the other (Pennsy) firing asalvo. Call it "A Sister's Fury".
I do enjoy your web site. I am ashamed of what they did with the Pennsy atthe end of the war. A great ship with a distinguished battle record should havebeen treated with more respect.
Texas A&M University is very proud of its military history with the Corpsof Cadets. I am sure as people see this print in my office they will enjoy it asmuch as I will.
Thanks for your note.
Lt. Christopher M. Faulkner
Texas A&M University Police Department
The Pennsy Web [NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 7:11 PM
To: (P) Christopher Faulkner
Subject: Your Email
Your email sent chills down my spine, the idea of the Sister ship painting isabsolutely stunning and the name is perfect, you my friend have hit the nail onthe head here. Mark is currently in Hawaii and he will be back in a few days, Iwill forward your mail to him if you don't mind. I would also like to post youremail on the site, again with your permission.
Thanks for the kind words about the site, I have spent a lot of hours at itover the past two years and it is letters like yours that make it all worthwhile..., thanks again Chris.
Sent: Monday, August 28, 2000 7:26 PM
To: Wade Cummingham
Subject: Re: Charles David Burchell
Dear Mr. Cunningham,
I thank you so very much for taking the time to respond to my questions and I
thank Mr. Munro for forwarding them on to you.
I was so overcome with emotions on seeing that photo of the 4 bodies covered with the flags, that I just had to see if I could possibly find out if it could be my Uncle Charles. I feel that you have answered my question very accurately.Mr. Munro had given me the addresses of Mr. Dennis and Mr. Lachtrupp and I did write to them. Mr. Dennis telephoned me and told me the same thing that you have just told me. He was pretty sure that this picture was from Okinawa also. Mr.Dennis did not know Charles, but did tell me some of the details that he knew of the day that Charles was injured and later died from. He was such a nice gentleman and it was a pleasure to speak with him. He has invited my family to join in the next reunion if we possibly can. He is also going to tell others that I am seeking information on Charles and maybe someone will contact me that knew Charles on the ship. I know that would be a very long shoot, but I never dreamed of ever finding the information I have so far, so I will be optimistic about it. I have not heard anything from Mr. Lachtrupp as of now.
I have enjoyed the USS Pennsylvania web page very much and it has been a pleasure corresponding with Mr. Munro, Mr. Dennis and yourself. I appreciate all the information and the willingness on all your parts to help me with my quest.
Thank you so very much for sharing this information with me and even though I now know that this was not my Uncle Charles, I will still always see that photo as an emotional scene and my heart goes out to all the families of these four men and all the other servicemen who gave their lives in the service of our country.
Barbara (Burchell) McCord
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2000 6:39 PM
Subject: Charles David Burchell
Dear Ken, I wanted to write you again to thank you so much for all your
help.I received the books I ordered from you and they are very nice. I am
enjoying reading all the stories and the pictures in them. Please tell the young
ladies what a wonderful job they did on their History 2000 project. I know you
are very proud of it.
I did get a letter from Mr. Lloyd Lachtrupp and it was a wonderful surprise,for he had been in the same Division (1st) with Charles and the other 3 men who were killed on Feb 11, 1944. He knew Charles personally and remembered talking with him. He sent me his phone number and I called to talk to him and thanked him for answering my letter. He told me that when those men were killed that they had a service on the ship for them and then they were taken on a barge to as mall island for a temporary burial. There were about 16 men who went on the barge with the bodies as pall bearers and Mr. Lachtrupp was one of them. He was also happy to hear from me, as he never knew what had happened with those men after that day and he was glad to hear that Charles had been buried in the National Cemetery in Hawaii. He said he had been to the cemetery 3 times and did not know that Charles was there but would be sure to look if he ever went again.I was so happy to get to talk to him. He was a very kind and understanding gentleman.
He is not online, but I told him of your website and maybe he could go to his local library and look at the your website there. He said he would like to see it. He said he had some more pictures that he would send me of the ship and maybe a 1st Division picture that Charles and the other men would be in.
I can't begin to tell you how much getting all this information has meant tome. I will remember always how much help Mr. Wade Cunningham, Mr. Jess Dennis,Mr. LLoyd Lachtrupp and your father and yourself have given me. All the men on the USS Pennsylvania were truly a big family and now here it is 55 years later and you are still helping to ease the minds of the families of those who lost loved ones from the ship. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness to me and Charles family. It makes me so proud and happy to see Uncle Charles picture on the website. It is a great honor to his memory. I thank you also for everything else on the website you have made to honor everyone who served on the ship. You have done a fantastic job. I want you to know I send my deepest respect to your father and all the other men who served their country during WWII. I consider them all American Heroes.
Again, THANK YOU for everything.
Barbara (Burchell) McCord
From: Sherry Spencer Oxley (NoSpam_GOSO2@aol.com)
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2000 3:32 AM
Subject: Charles Spencer
Received your e-mail. Thanks again. My Dad also has a nephew currentlyserving in the navy and a grandson, also named Charles Spencer who is also inthe navy. Charles is currently serving in Thailand.
I can't wait to tell them about the website.
I will be ordering the book for my mother as a Christmas present. I know shewill be pleased.
My Dad didn't talk very much about being in Pearl Harbor because the memoriesof that day weren't very pleasant. I can't wait to get the book so I can readabout the men who served so gallantly. I am thrilled that my sister discoveredthis website and as soon as I got home from my mother's I pulled it up on thecomputer.
I want my children to know what their Granddad went through and will sharethis with them.
Thanks again for your help. My Dad was a wonderful man.
Take care and tell your Dad I love this site.
Sherry Spencer Oxley
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2000 7:54 AM
Subject: Men Killed.
I just rechecked the list of men killed while serving in Pennsy. All ofthe
six Marines listed for Pearl Harbor were buddies of mine. I pitched
liberties at one time or another with each of them. A real shock fora
19-year old when learning of their deaths. It really hit home. Itwas quite
a long time before I let myself get too close to other Marines, though
eventually I made a number of good buddies--hard not to when men stayedawake
to protect me while I slept and I did the same for them.
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2000 7:11 AM
Subject: Memorial, Howard H. Branyon
My uncle, Howard H. Branyon was stationed on the Pennsylvania at the time ofPearl Harbor. He was at home and my aunt drove him back to the ship. I have hernarrative about that morning. He later won the Navy Cross at Guadalcanal,retired from Navy in 1948 as a Lt. Commander after 33 years of service. Startedas a "mustang", He may have been a Chief Boatswains Mate at the timehe was aboard Pennsylvania.
Mrs. Rilla Hartsoe
From: USS Pennsylvania(BB-38) NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org
To: Rilla Hartsoe NoSpam_mrswjh1@elite.net
Date: Sunday, March 26, 2000 3:25 PM
Subject: Re: Memorial
Thank you for your email and it is truly a interesting bit of info that youhave given me. I would love to hear more about your uncle, I have added him tothe memorial page and would love to post more info about him. Please considersharing this great mans history with us.
From: Rilla Hartsoe
In response to the correspondence below, I am forwarding information receivedthis date from B. A. Wilson, Awards and Special Projects Branch of theDepartment of the Navy at the Pentagon. The record of my uncle’s citation wasfound on microfiche and reads as follows:
BRANYON, H. H. CBM, USN
(handwritten) - YP-239 (Challenger) Guadalcanal
NAVY CROSS by Comdr. S. Pac. Force & Area—Ltr.
March 28, 1943 - COMSOPAC File P15/(02) Serial 747.
"For extraordinary heroism in action against anarmed enemy in the waters between Tulagi and Guadalcanal Islands, BritishSolomon Islands, during the period from Sept. 1, 1942, to Nov. 2, 1942. ChiefBoatswain Branyon was in command of a small auxiliary naval craft used intransporting essential men and supplies. His craft __raged at least one trip aday, many of the trips having been made under heavy enemy fire, and at night,under the most trying circumstances. In spite of the obstacles and great dangerpresent, Chief Boatswain Branyon carried out his missions with extreme courageand skill, setting an example to his command. His unflinching leadershipresulted in an uninterrupted flow of reinforcements and supplies without whichthe ground troops would have been greatly hampered."
/s/ W.F. HALSEY.
(very faint handwriting "N. C. & __fwd to C.O.4-5-44.P. Cit. ______recip. 5-9-44)
Mrs. Rilla Hartsoe
From: VeteransCommemoration Association [NoSpam_vca(the@sign)proaxis.com]
Sent: Friday, April 21, 2000 12:45 AM
Subject: Re: USS Pennsylvania
FWD To: Ken Munro
ANOTHER PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR REQUEST!!!!!
I have a fellow veteran here who served with the USMC at Pearl Harbor. Ido not remember what unit he was assigned to, but he was sent down to the Pennsy with stretchers about 1030 that morning...he was leaning on the chain of the gangway when they brought out a victim who was conscious and looked at him and said "GO GET 'EM MARINE" Del (the veteran I am referring to) said that he is no longer sure whether this man was a sailor or a Marine, but he had the impression that he had lost one or both legs...he is not sure about that...HE would very much like to locate that man and find out how he is...CAN YOU HELP!!!?? He has wondered all these years not only HOW he was, but HOW he had sustained such injuries and yet remained conscious and able to recognize the Marine at the gangway and tell him such MOTIVATING words!!!!
I'd really like to find this man and maybe ask if he would be willing to meet Del Pitzer...Del was in his mid twenties then and is about 86, now.
He has been a great inspiration to me and his delightful wife, Violet are great moral support for the Veterans Day Parade.
On a personal note, I have been in the Marine Corps for 16 years this September and can NOT tell you how much I admire the heroic actions of all the Service Personnel and Civilians that Day that Shall live forever in the history of this great nation!!!!Than you from the bottom of my very proud heart!!!
Patricia L. Crawford
Sent: Thursday, April 27, 2000 8:16 AM
To: NoSpam_Phylcleo(the@sign)aol.com; NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org
Subject: Patricia Crawford.
Al & Ken,
Following is the e-mail I wrote to Patricia Crawford in response toAl's
passing her e-mail on to me.
Albert Crabtree forwarded your letter to me because I was a Marine on the Pennsy that day. Al didn't indicate your rank or rate so I'm playing it safe!
Sixteen Marines in the Marine Detachment were wounded that morning and six killed. I have the Detachment's December 1941 Roster and it lists the names of the killed and wounded. Several of the men had leg fractures but I know of only one who lost one but I don't recall whether before leaving the ship for the US Naval Hospital, Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor. His name: Kember D. Mabey. I saw him in 1978 at a ship's reunion in Las Vegas. It was held at the same time as the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association's National there that year. Unfortunately, I don't recall where he lived at that time, or his home state upon entering the Marine Corps--I checked a September 1941 roster in hopes it would list next-of-kin but it didn't. We corresponded for at with me after the reunion. I believe his death ended our contacts but I can't be certain. I do not have him listed, in any way, on my roster of about29 Marines out of the detachment. The usual terminology used by Marines in those days, maybe still is, when addressing another, if a male, who he didn't know was "Mac", so chances are, the man on the stretcher was navy. I too was carried off the ship on a stretcher but I don't recall anyone at the foot of the gangway, even a Marine who would normally be on duty there, but there was one at the head of it. If your friend helped place a Marine on a mattress in the bed of a civilian pickup, it could well have been me.
Apparently, Maybe was member of PHSA at that time and if still living, may still be. You might contact the Editor of the Pearl Harbor Gram because he'd have him listed if still receiving the newsletter. His address:
Bob Watson Editor
Pearl Harbor Gram
PO Box 1340
Alta Loma CA 91701-1340
If Bob can't help you, The Veterans Administration--if alive, he'd be drawing disability--or Social Security Records if dead. I pulled a search in the far west states before writing this but no luck there. Of course, an unlisted number wouldn't be in Switchboard or other of the national phone directories. It has been a long day so I searched only California, where I live,Oregon, Nevada and Arizona.
Your old friend was probably serving at the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard,PH, or with the 1st Defense Battalion--the latter had men stationed in the area. If at the barracks, he may know a couple of my old buddies, unfortunately both now dead.
Good luck in your search. If you don't find him right away, let me know and I'll contact a few of the Marines off the ship and maybe one of them will recall his home state or possibly may have been in contact since shipboard days.
If your friend is interested in my experiences and what I saw that day,go to: http://members.aol.com/dolart/pharbor.htm
A former member of the World's best fighting force,
Art's home page is: http://hometown.aol.com/dolart/dolart.htm
Be sure to read his book, The QuackCorps
Subject: Lost and Found
Date: Saturday, February 19, 2000 3:24 PM
Hello my name is Steve Perry. My dad Howard Perry served on the USS Pennsylvania 7th Division during 1943 to 1945. He is looking for a freind that also served during that time his name is A.J. Winchester. He also was in the 7th Division. My Dad would very much like to get in touch with him and say hi. If anyone has any information that could connect these two sailors please help us out.
From: "Steve" perry(the@sign)wingsisp.com
Subject: E-mail Reply
Date: Saturday, February 19, 2000 8:01 PM
Thank you so much for your time in looking for A.J. Winchester. I called my dad and he was so surprised to know we even got a reply. So once again thank you for your effort. My dad told me that A.J. was from Arkansas. So I don't know if this will be of any help but if it is we appreciate it.
From: "Steve" perry(the@sign)wingsisp.com
Subject: E-MAIL REPLY
Date: Saturday, February 19, 2000 10:01 PM
Isn't it great that my Dad was able to reach A.J. He was so delighted to
talk to him. You hit the nail on the head with that address and phone
number. My Dad called me and said that he talked to A.J. for the first time
in over 55 years. That is wonderful. I guess there going to make plans to
visit each other this summer. All this would have not been possible if it
wasn't for your help. So thank you. I'm interested in getting one of those
hard-cover books about the USS Pennsylvania. Can you e-mail me and let me
know how to get one. I would like to send a check can you tell me where to
send it and how much I need to write the check for to order one. I would
also like the plastic cover for it.
Subject: USS Pennsylvania Shipmates, Sam WaldenJr
Date: Saturday, April 01, 2000 10:49 AM
I hope that I am contacting someone who can help me! My father was in the
6th Division onboard the USS Pennsylvania from 1943-45 and has always
wondered if there were in fact any reunions going on. He has not ever been in
contact with anyone and did not know where to even begin to search for
someone who would have any information. I recently bought a computer and
happened today to just check for him and I found the reunion information.
Can you possibly put me in touch with someone who could help my dad get more
information. He talks about it all the time, and would be so happy if he
could get in contact with former shipmates.
Thank you in advance,
Subject: Re: USS Pennsylvania Shipmates
Date: Saturday, April 01, 2000 12:05 PM
Hi Ken, Thanks for the info. I just got off the phone with my dad. I was
looking through the roster for 1945 but unfortunately his name was not
included. He departed the ship 3/15/45 and I do not know when the picture
was taken. I was looking through the pictures from the 99 reunion in Tucson
and reading the names to him and he recognized T.D. Lake and would like to
reach him. He has not seen him in 55 years. As you can tell, I am very
excited for him and would like to help him out.
Dad's name is Sam Walden Jr., 6th Division 1943-45 and was from Rockvale, TN.
I told him of the reunion coming up, but they cannot make it on this short of
notice. My father and mother live in Gardnerville, NV. Please let me know if you need
his address, and if there is anything I need to do to get him into the
"group" i.e.; memberships or anything. I would like him to be able to receive
information in the mail if possible.
Again, thanks for the help. He does not have a computer, so I guess I will be
the one who will search out information for him. If you can get me in touch with T.D.Lake, I would greatly appreciate it.
Subject: Re: Sam Walden
Date: Saturday, April 01, 2000 9:18 PM
Ken, Once again thanks for everything. My dad was very appreciative. He was able to contact T.D. Lake by telephone today and spoke to him for a half hour or so. He was so choked up when I spoke to him. For so long he had no information at all, and in one afternoon was able to speak to a fellow shipmate. You have no idea how happy it made him. Thanks again, and I will surely be in touch.
Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2000 10:48 AM
Subject: Re: Sam Walden/USS Pennsylvania, 6th Division
Hi Ken, I am writing again on behalf of my father. A while backyou helped me get in touch with T.D. Lake for my dad. I think that I toldyou he was able to call him and have a very nice talk. Since then,my dad wanted to get in touch with more former shipmates and so he had me lookup several shipmates on the internet with the last known cities that they lived in 55 years ago.
We were successful in locating at least 3. This past week my dad and mom drove down from Gardnerville, NV where the now live and he was able to visitone friend in Hesperia, right up the hill. I have not seen him so happy!! (Thanks to you)
He then went on to Texas to see another, and to Tennessee for a family reunion and will then pick up another shipmate and his wife to venture on to Virginia Beach, VA to visit yet another shipmate.
I am sure glad that I found you. You have enabled me to make my father a very happy man!! I want you to know how very thankful I am for your help!!
Subject: Reply--Aboard BB 38 on August 12,1945
Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2000 9:41 AM
Yes, I was aboard the Pennsylvania on August 12, 1945. I went aboard in San Francisco in September 1943 and left the ship in February 1946 in route to Banbridge, Maryland for discharge. As well as I remember, I was in Sick Bay a couple of times--nothing serious, catarrah fever (flu or bad cold). Your father may have been on duty during the time that I was sick.
Yes, I recall vividly the night of August 12, 1945. We had pulled into Buckner Bay, Okinawa that morning early, dropped anchor and took aboard Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorph and his flag. We were to be the flagship leading our group of ships into Tokyo Bay. It was a rather quiet day with not too much going on aboard ship.
Since I was to have a midnight watch-12 to 4,I was preparing to "hit the sack." As I remember it was about dusk in the evening. All at once the forward part of the ship, where my living quarters was, jumped up in the air with a loud noise. We rushed topside to find out what had happened. Immediately,General Quarters or Air Defense alarm, I don't remember which, sounded and I rushed to my battle station. My station in both "GQ" and Air Defense was sight setter and fuse setter on Mt. 5 of the starboard 5" 38 Caliber mount. It didn't take long for us to find out what had happened. A Jap plane came in low with his running lights on and his motor off and dropped a torpedo.It hit aft on the quarterdeck just aft of the boat boom. The crew could not get our pumps to work in order to pump water out and a rescue vessel came alongside and set their pumps up. We stayed on our "GQ" stations all night and even kept all fire power stations manned for two or three days afterward. Things then settled down since the A bomb was dropped at this time and the Japs call edit "quits."
The next day (Aug. 13) we were towed toward land where the water was not as deep and the divers went down and put a temporary patch over the hole which was large enough to put a small house in.
Then tugs towed us to Guam where we went into a floating dry-dock to make the patch more secure before sailing slowly to Bremerton, Washington.
I am now 75 years of age, and in spite of the time that has passed since this happened, it is written on my memory never to be forgotten.
Give your Dad my best regards from one shipmate to another.
From: "Jim & Sherry Duncan" <duncan(the@sign)yellowsub.net>
Subject: Fire in San Francisco 1936
Thursday, January 20, 2000 7:24 PM
Hello. My name is Jim Duncan and I'm writing because of an old newspaperclipping I found about a fire in San Francisco somewhere around 1936. It statesthat men from USS Pennsylvania were called in to help fight the fire. It tookplace at the rail yard on Third St. where a boxcar load of matches exploded.Well, my grandfather was injured fighting that fire with the SFFD and now I'mtrying to find some information about it. I can't find anything with the Firedept. or the museum, so I thought I'd try a real long shot here and see ifanything rings a bell, so to speak. I'm not to sure about the date, it states hewas 32 at the time, and he was born in 1904 so it should be correct unless thepaper was wrong. Any how, if this doesn't pan out I want to say you have a verynice website and God Bless all World War 2 veterans.
Sent: Monday, January 03, 2000 8:08 PM
My name is Don Dawson. I served in WW2 in the Washington BB56.After the war, attended the USMM Academy at Kings Point. I lost the best boyhood friend I EVER had, and have found out after all these years he served in the glorious old Pennsylvania. I understand he was on her at Pearl on December 7th.If you or any of your shipmates can tell me anything about him, I will be eternally grateful. There was some correspondence between us when we were kids,but you know how that goes, especially during wartime. I will anxiously await your reply. With all warm regards and best wishes.
From: USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)
To: Don Dawson
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2000 10:47 PM
Subject: Arthur A. McCann
Have not heard from you, we need you to tell us what yourfriends name is?????
To: USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2000 2:41 PM
Subject: Arthur A. McCann
I'm so sorry, and I apologize all over the place. I did Email the lady you recommended and gave her what I hope is sufficient info, sparse though it is. My buddies name is ARTHUR McCANN. I don't know what division he might have been in. I'm not even positive he was on your "Penny" on December 7th and I would be happier if he were not. Realistically, it doesn't bode well however as my attempts to contact have gone unanswered. I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM----GOOD OR NOT SO GOOD. I'll tell you one thing that's for sure Ken. What you fellows are doing, keeping in touch, and keeping track of your old shipmates is what many of us should have been doing all these years. I salute you shipmate! I have come to realize that the friendships I had are more precious than anything and grow even more cherished with the passing of time.That damned time does pass doesn't it? I'll close again hoping to hear from you once more. You are in my thoughts and wishes for all the happiness and good fortune that can come your way. I don't remember the prayer that Cowboys used to intone but it was something like, "May the wind always blow on your back and may the snow always fall gently on your shoulders....It goes on to wish the best to a friend. I'd be proud to consider you my friend Ken.
From: USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)
To: Don Dawson
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2000 7:31 PM
Subject: Arthur A. McCann
Can you tell me more about where he was from and where the two of you grew up? Thanks for the kind comments, my father is the one who got me started on this and I can't quit, the more I find out the more I know that this site and all sites like it need to be maintained and saved for future generations. You are America's finest and to that end I am dedicated. My father was in "A" division and served from 1941 to 1945. I too spent 4 years in the Navy during the Vietnam war and strange as it seems, he and I traveled the same seas and had a lot of the same ships around each of us. I was aboard a ship that was involved in the invasion of the Philippines in his tour, 20 years later. We had our hides saved by the battleship Missouri at the DMZ, we were at anchor off-loading marines and equipment and we started taking incoming, the first round landed short by about 100 yards, the second round landed long by 100yards (I happen to be standing there with my movie camera filming the off-loading, got it all on film) and the Missouri was returning fire between the two and took care of that, sent Charlie a 3000 lb. present...., it's a small world my friend, sometimes this kind of stuff makes you wonder about how our lives are mapped out for us... Take care and tell me all you can about your friend, I will post it for you.
To: "USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)"
Subject: Arthur A. McCann
Date: Friday, January 07, 2000 7:41 PM
I hesitate to keep 'bugging' you and having the lady Carol (Carol Serr) take of your time to find a long lost friend of mine. As I told you, "Flips" name is Arthur A. McCann. He always lived in Petersburg,Virginia. We parted when my Father had me come back to Pittsburgh, PA. There was a big custody battle going on and as usual kids are the inevitable losers. We,Flip and I were 14 at the time and his parents had him accompany me to Pittsburgh. We both knew the end of a close personal relationship was drawing near and it did about 2 weeks later when Flip left to return to Petersburg. We were closer than brothers. We milked cows together, searched for "minie balls" together, shared lunches, turned the crank on the ice-cream freezer for Sunday dinners dessert, and so many other things it would take a year to write. I went off to Military School, and as my Father was pretty insistent I apply for and go to West Point (my family was ALL Army and Army Air Force) I rebelled and joined the Navy. It was an escape as much as anything. Anyhow, I served in the USS Somers DD381 an 1850 destroyer, the James Lawrence DD250 one of the old 4 piper tin cans, a very short stay on the Salt Lake City a Heavy Cruiser, and then on to Philadelphia for assignment to PT school. That blew with the Delaware River demise of the PT8, and I was sent to the Rec. Ship for duty assignment COM4. And THAT is how I came to the USS Washington BB56. I sailed in Washington through our North Atlantic convoy operations. We escorted convoys from Rekavyk, Iceland to Murmansk Russia, and then lay over at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys awaiting to rendezvous with the next convoy headed back to Iceland. We finally were assigned to the SOPAC and the great old Rusty W wrote her own history there, sinking an enemy battleship among other "butt" kicking' sat the 3rd battle of Savo. Later on, and seeking something that only"nutty" people look for I volunteered and was sent to Nanakuli for UDT training. I was not one of the demolition cowboys, but was in the Support Group.Made one landing, Saipan, the night before the invasion, (Opome Point my group assignment). 4 days later picked up my million dollar wound and came back to the Glory Land. Thank God for ALL the people in Navy Medical. One year healing, and I went to Columbia University in NY. Dear old Ike was the President of Columbia at that time, and I don't know if it was he that started the graph system or not, but lots of us on the GI bill were losing our eligibility as we couldn't carry the course load and maintain the grade average on the graph. So I applied for the USMM Academy (United States Merchant Marine) at Kings Point. Hey it sounded pretty good to me, a kid with no family ties. Your education is paid for AND get this Ken....You are given an Ensigns commission in the USNR. Of course one has to pass the Coast Guard examination for rank in License. Sailed as an Engineering Officer in rank and grade from 3rd Engineering Officer to Chief Engineer(Unlimited Horsepower) I was re-treaded for duty in Vietnam, and that's where our paths had to cross. If you were off-loading Marines from your ship it was probably up in I Corps, right? Well, old friend I was at DaNang in those days,and was Liaison with Maj. Fred "Tex" Snyder for the off loading of all Air Force and (landed) Navy ammo. I did 3 tours out there and "hung it out to dry" Joined Ogden Engineering as a Sales Eng. and after 3 years with them took over Koike America in the States to establish their North America market. Became Vice President and General Mgr. Lived on airplanes for too long and took a retirement in spite of a VERY lucrative bonus offer. Enough is enough of hotels, motels, rental cars, lost luggage, and all meals eventually tasting the same. That and the fact that you are smiling at people you'd frankly like to deck out. We built a new house and I got acquainted with my wife and my grown kids. It was all pretty nice. I started sky-diving, to my wife's consternation,who always thought that "retire" meant sit down for a little while and smell the roses. To keep everyone placated, got into Real Estate....was successful, but HATED it. Those people live on BS. Honestly, they don't care aslong as they can get the sale and realize their commission. Went up against a bunch of the locals here for the position of County Officer (Constable). Having cut my teeth on competition, it was a "shoo-in" The physical part just caught up to me after 9 1/2 years of that. Have had some pretty extensive spinal surgery, and am more or less limited to carrying in the mail and threatening to beat Claire with a wet noodle when she gives me a little guff. That's it Kiddo'.I am still anxious to find out how I can find Arthur A. "Flip" McCann. The anxiety grows, and I know I have you and Carol to thank for all you've done.Please try to bear up under the history. It's just good to hash over old time switch someone who knows the smell of salt spray, and good Navy coffee. Do let me know if anything turns up on your watch. Again I'm forever grateful.
If you can help in any way to shedsome light on this story please email me or Don Dawson
From: "JOE GREER" <jvgreer(the@sign)apex.net>
Date: Tuesday, December 28, 1999 8:59 AM
Hello, My name is Joe Greer and my father (James Greer) served aboard the USSPENNSYLVANIA during WWII. He was in the 10th Div. He attended a few reunion's inMemphis, Tenn. He was very proud of his naval service. He was very sick the pastsix years and pasted away Aug. 3rd, 1998. I ran across your web page looking forinformation about the Pennsylvania. It is a great tribute to the brave me whoserved aboard this great ship. I hope you and your family keep this site as afitting memorial to these men. The one regret I have in life is I didn't sitdown with my father and video tape all his experiences during WWII. Keep up thegood work.
To: <Ken Munro>
Subject: Hi again
Date: Saturday, December 11, 1999 11:31 PM
Ken...I hadn't ever visited your What's New page....and just saw what you have written about me and dad. How nice of you. Thanks!
I spent several hours today "interviewing" dad about his history on the Pennsy. I heard his stories over and over growing up...but had never put them all together...and wasn't sure of the chronology...so I am now (finally) making a record of it...and plan to type it up...and will submit it for your page on my dad. His memory is as sharp as a tack...which seems amazing for an 81 year old. The stories haven't ever changed... I'm sure they are etched in his memory. It occurred to me that I never actually thought about how my dad fought for our freedom and had never Thanked him...as I have seen so many people doing on your Email Log (or other pages). I thanked him today...for the first time.
He told me today how total strangers come up to him after seeing his Pearl Harbor Survivor license plate...and thank him...or just talk to him. At a gas station he even had a teenager come up wanting to shake his hand...after seeing the license plate....the young man felt honored to meet someone like my dad. Its like he...and all the other men (people) who fought in WWII are celebrities. I had never thought of it that way.
And he has given out many of his "business cards"...which has gotten he and my mom some great service or even some free meals! etc....from people in appreciation for his service to our country. I almost feel ashamed I never looked at him that way. His stories were for the most part light-hearted and humorous...of his adventures...never the gory part of war...so I didn't see it in that context....but should have.I'm sure he intentionally sheltered us from the ugly parts of war...and any experiences he had. But he sure had lots of good experiences also.
Now I need to get him to un-bury his old photos albums and shoo away the moths...so I can get out some more photos relating to the Pennsy...for your page. I keep meaning to create my own personal web page...and have now thought I would add a page on my dad....and of course will have to give equal time to my mom...even though she says she didn't do anything memorable. We all have memories of our life...and our histories are only relative to our own experience.
Oh...I voted for your page...hope you win!! Thanks again for all your efforts on a wonderful and deserving page of memorial to all who served aboard this ship.
You haven't heard the last from me. :o)
Subject: Royal Navy observer
Date: Thursday, November 18, 1999 5:53 AM
You sort of asked about my source on the Royal Navy observer. This is from the brief biographies given in the Taylor Publishing Company volume on Pearl Harbor Survivors (I don't have the title withme) that came out in the mid-1980s. I Xeroxed this volume, clipped each biography and filed them by ship. Glen H. Berg, Lt JG, noted when below deck, hewent to the casemate where the bomb hit the ship. Then he went to his compartment below the damaged area to see what damage was to his stuff. "In midst of all this a British officer who'd been an observer on board was now just sitting in the compartment and crying." The old term would be shell shock, battle fatigue, or (today) Post Combat Stress.
Just wanted the name of the Royal Navy observer to include in the full text ofABOVE PEARL, a tactical history of 7 Dec 1941.
Subject: looking for information
Date: Monday, November 29, 1999 6:19 PM
I really enjoy your web site on the USS Pennsylvania. I'm looking forinformation about my father. He served on the Pennsylvania from March 1941 to sometime during the time she was back on the West Coast. I looked at my father's discharge papers but they do not say when he was transferred from the Pennsy to the Rebuilder. The only other thing I know is that he was a boatswain mate 2nd at Pearl Harbor and was on her during the attack. My
father's name was Gerald G. Miller (Jerry). I noticed that you are working on a crew list from 1945. Is there any way to get a crew list from 1941? I would like to find out what division my father was in and where on the ship he was stationed during the attack. My Father never talked to me about his day in the navy much, he saidthat I couldn't understand what was really like. I'm very proud of my father was would like this information to add to his memorial. I have included his pictureof when he was in basic at the Great Lakes Training Station, his six metals, andthe flag that drape his casket. I thing the information could be passed to myson to help understand the sacrifices that the warriors of WWII went through. Can you help me?
From: USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) <NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org>
To: Miller, Bryan <bmiller(the@sign)ebmud.com>
Subject: Re: looking for information
Date: Monday, November 29, 1999 11:18 PM
It is letters like yours that keep me at this. I receive many just likeit. First of all, your father is an American Hero and part of a generation that changed the world. Never in history has so many gave so much. We owe our freedoms today to these great men and there is no doubt that this world would be a very different place had they not sacrificed so much.
As far as being able to help you with the 1941 crew list, I am sorry but I do not have that list, but I am in contact with many Crewmembers that werethere. I will (with your permission) post your email on the site. Hopefully there may be someone who remembers and will contact you. You may also considercontacting the Pearl Harbor Survivors website http://www.members.aol.com/phsasecy97/ and http://members.aol.com/USAHeroes/warlib48.htm.
Here also is an address that was sent to me today by Art Wells and this is whereyou can get ships information, I have not used it so I don't know how it is butit is certainly worth a shot:
OPERATIONAL ARCHIVES BRANCH
NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON, DC 20374-0571
I am putting you on the mailing list and I hope you will continue to checkthe site out, it changes every week, thanks for stopping by and let me know howyou do with your search.
I had posed a question about where the Torpedo planehad come from and this was one of the responses that I received, Thanks John
From: John McShan
Sent: Saturday, August 07, 1999 2:26 PM
Subject: Torpedo Plane
Ken: I always thought, for reasons I don't recall, that the torpedo plane came from a land base. I remember the plane was described by some as a "washing machine charlie", meaning that it was pieced together what ever was available. I have wondered what became of the pilot. He was probably the same one who came back the next night. He should have survived the war and may be still living. It would be very interesting to hear his side of the story. A good project for some historian.
John T. McShan
I served aboard the Pennsylvania from May 1945 to November 1945 in the seventh division. My watch station was sky control, starboard side and I was on watch when the torpedo plane got in. I heard it but never saw it. I have found one shipmate through your web.
From: William King
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 1999 4:28 AM
I was aboard the USS Cabot CVL-28 when thePennsylvania shelled Wake Island, near the end of the war and we made air strikes. At thetime we were told a Japanese shore battery made a hit on the Pennsy. Do you have info onthat?
On 7/2/99 I received the following message from Clifford Holley who was a signal man on the Pennsylvania. "You wereright about the ship being hit at Wake Island. We were straddled by several rounds of8-inch until one round struck the star-board aft director (along side the Main mast). Thisround did nothing more than mess up that director. It hit the hand rail on the outside,bent it, and then entered the director, making a neat hole, and I guess bounced around inside. I suppose it was "old" ammo the Japanese were forced to use".Healso mentioned that your dad was a MAA, which if I remember right was a "Master AtArms".
Regards, Bill King
From: William King
Sent: Thursday, July 08, 1999 4:30 AM
Subject: Re: BB-38
According to Clifford Holley, the attack on WakeIsland occurred on August 2, 1945. The History of the USS Cabot records the date as August1.
I have an article that I copied from some source which tells about the rescue of aCabot crew member named Hanna who was washed over-board during a typhoon in September 1945near Okinawa. He was a signalman who was in the well deck aft of the island and was unableto swim! There was one crew member aft who saw him go out and tossed a life preserver overboard which landed right by him. He was rescued by the destroyer USS Ordronaux. When hewas returned to our ship I assisted with pulling the breech-buoy line and we sent the DDice cream. I mention this mainly because the article includes a photo of the Cabot, takenfrom the Ordronaux, steaming with a small object in the front which is the USSPennsylvania (which would likely have been when we were on our way to Wake Island).
It is of some interest that the person who rescued records of the USS Ordronaux was ateen age fellow who was in some type of Navy cadet group. He and others went aboard shipsscheduled for scraping and retrieved such records.
I served on the USS Cabot CVL-28 from May 1945 to March 1946. On August 1, 1945 our air squadron bombed Wake Island. The USS Pennsylvania was with us and they shelled the island. We were told that the Japanese managed to hit the"Pennsy" during this attack with some sort of gun. Later, we learned that the Pennsylvania was hit by a torpedo in Okinawa. I read the account of this later event on your site. My other brief contact with the Pennsylvania occurred at Hunter's Point, San Francisco. I sat on the dock one evening until 2:00 am waiting for it to return from a shakedown cruise, to help with the lines securing it to the dock. Visited with the wives of some crew members, who had to be awakened to go topside to see them. I appreciate sites like yours that clarify events that I had some connection with.
William R. King - Peoria, IL
From: Tom Murtagh
Sent: Friday, June 11, 1999 7:39 PM
Subject: A GALLANT AND DEPENDABLE VETERAN!
Thanks for including the pictures on your site! the plaque on the base of the Bell which unfortunately is obscured reads as follows:
USS PENNSYLVANIA BB-38
THE BATTLESHIP PENNSYLVANIA FAMOUS AS THE FLAGSHIP OF THE US FLEETWAS COMMISSIONED IN 1916 WITH A DISPLACEMENT OF 32,600 TONS. A LENGTH OF 608 FEET, A BEAM OF 106 FEET AND A SPEED OF 21 KNOTS. SHE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST OIL BURNING BATTLESHIPS OFTHE NAVY. ON DEC. 7TH 1941 WHILE IN DRY-DOCK AT PEARL HARBOR SHE RECEIVED ONE BOMB HIT. THEPENNSYLVANIA WAS MODERNIZED IN 1942 AND FROM THAT DATE PARTICIPATED IN BOMBARDMENTS AND AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS AT ATTU, KISKA, MAKIN ISLAND, KWAJALEIN, ENIWETOK, SAIPAN, GUAM,PELELUI, ANGAUR, LEYTE, WAKE ISLAND, LINGAYEN AND OKINAWA. SHE WAS HIT BY A TORPEDO ATOKINAWA AND WAS OUT OF ACTION FOR THE REMAINDER OF WORLD WAR 2. THE PENNSYLVANIA WAS THE ONLY US BATTLESHIP TO TAKE PART IN EVERY AMPHIBIOUS OPERATION IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN AREAS AND THE TWO LARGEST OPERATIONS IN THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA DURING THE PERIOD MAY 1943 TO FEB 1945. ONE OF THE FOUR BATTLESHIPS AWARDED THE NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION FOR ACTION IN WORLD WAR 2. THE PENNSYLVANIA WAS DECOMMISSIONED IN FEB 1948.
My interest in Pennsy began when I found out she was at Pearl during the attack.I havean avid interest in salvage operations in general and was very curious about finding outhow the ships were raised at Pearl Harbor. Not to mention a little home state pride!!! It was then that I discovered that Pennsy and Arizona were sister ships and also that Pennsy put up the most return fire of all the ships on Dec 7. Her ammunition consumption was the highest of all the ships in combat during WW2. She had an even silhouette with her four three gun turrets and I found her to be the most stately looking battleship in the fleet of pre war BBs. I was also curious as to how she was sunk at Kwajelein after the nuclear tests. Was she torpedoed or were scuttling charges placedaboard ? Hopefully someone will have the answer! Great site Ken and it must be very gratifying to know that your father was on board one of the nations premier ships of theline when she was needed most!! Please tell the Pennsy vets for me that the young generation they see today are not all hooked on just MTV there are many of us that have learned of the sacrifices and the heroism of those who have made sure that our freedom hasbeen bought and paid for ! It is a debt that we can never repay!! We can only make sure that we remember those who have come before us and that we must answer the call ifnecessary to assure freedom for the next generation!!
If anyone knows anything About Clarence Leifeldplease Email Nick or me. Thanks
Sent: Thursday, October 01, 1998 4:25 PM
Subject: Clarence J. Leifeld
I am not sure what division my father was in. I know he was assigned to
a 5" gun section. He served on the USS Pennsylvania from Pearl Harbor
through the liberation of the Philippine Islands. He enlisted in the
Navy in 1940 and retired in 1961. He later served on the USS Wisconsin
and on a Destroyer during the Korean War. Sorry I don't know more.
This is a very interesting email from Dale Bruce, Thanks Dale
From: dsrtdwlr dsrtdwlr(the@sign)infinet-is.com
Sent: Monday, October 26, 1998 4:20 PM
To: NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org Subject: Pennsy
Hello Ken: Thanks for the msg. I was trying to locate any shipmate from the Columbia and also look up the war record for it. Since we operated with the old battlewagons (five of which were in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed) such as the Pennsy, I regard them as comrades in arms. I trained on the Coronado strand Amphibious Training base in the spring of 1944 and graduated as a coxswain of a LCM landing craft. I was a part ofSLU32, a 900 man unit complete with marine fatigue uniforms along with our regular navy uniforms a helmet and a carbine rifle.I traveled from Seattle to Pearl Harbor as a passenger aboard the USS Massachusetts. Then across the Pacific on the USS Oakhill, a landing ship-dock, where we were duly initiated a shellback after the appropriate ceremonies.After crossing the international date line. (The Oakhill crew enjoyed it immensely, they with the shillelaghs, cattle prods and fire-hoses and untrained barbers)We put ashore on Guadalcanal then boarded a sub chaser for transport to the island of Tulagi. The brass never knew for sure what our mission would be so in the interim, we Mike boat crews were put to work loading ships that were anchored in Purvis Bay. We lived intents on a tiny island called Turner City. After about a week of this they had us go through more training (hand to hand and rifle range) and issued us 200 rounds of ammo.Then they decided not to use the M boats for the next action and transferred us to various ships in the harbor. I, and 49 others were assigned to the USS Columbia CL56. I was in the armory and attached to the fire-control division. My underway watch was a pointer on sky2, a 6" gun director and my battle station was a pointer on spot 2, a six inch turret director. My first action was Palau. Then we landed 900 army rangers on the three islands at the entrance to Leyte Gulf. Hononhom, Dingat and Sulvan islands on the 16th during a gale I think most of the landing craft broached on the beach. Then we steamed into Leyte Gulf right behind the minesweepers. We laid in close to the beach and did call firing until the morning of the 20th. when daybreak found every troopship in the navy there in Leyte Gulf. and waves of landing craft heading for the beach. On the beach, our fighter-bombers pealed off and started strafing. The fire looked like huge rolls ofred-hot wire,as tall as the palm trees, rolling down the beach. We then, started to fire rapidly with 9 gun salvos of the 6" turrets. Afterwords, I recall us running back and forth the Gulf at 30 knots under cover of our (and others) smoke-screens to elude the Jap bogeys because we had some P38s in the air and had to hold our fire. I thought at the time, we would be better off recalling the P38s and let us handle the bogeys because they were so out-numbered. Then too, it was very dangerous for our task force to be running at top speed without vision. We participated in the battle of Surigao Straits, then covered the landings at Mindoro Island in December `44. Jan.`45 found us en route to the Lingayen Gulf. Near Manila, we took aboard about a hundred survivors of the USS Omaney Bay, an escort carrier which was torpedoed and sank. At Lingayen,we were hit 3 times in 3days by the kamikaze and came out of there with the other crippled ships and transports.At Leyte our divers repaired 8 holes in the bottom of the ship. All the after part of the ship was flooded and the fantail was sitting down on the surface on the water. 17 men were trapped below. We got underway for Pearl Harbor and we set to work pumping out the water.After a couple of days, the patches broke loose, filling it up again with water. I was making my rounds taking the temp. of the magazines when I passed by the Capt. underway cabin. The damage control officer was being read the riot act by the red-faced, very angry Capt. At Pearl, the ship was repaired enough to pump out the water and retrieve the 17 bodies. The smell was so offensive that the workers had to wear gas masks. Later, we put into dry-dock at San Pedro for repairs. A brass band was playing and they had a sizable crowd on hand to watch us tie up. Most were either shouting or crying. When I went ashore on liberty, I took a look at the Columbia from the dock and it was then I realized how badly we were shot up. There didn't seem to be a square foot of topside that escaped damage It took 3 months of 24 hour shifts to get the ship ready. ..they never did get rid of the odor..After that, it was off to Borneo and the wars end. I then served aboard the USS Brookings APA140 as the coxswain of the Capt. gig until we put her in mothballs in the York river at Norfolk, Va. in August `46. I didn't intend to tell all this at the start but old memories kept coming back and I kept typing. Sorry about that. Hope to hear from you again.--
From: dsrtdwlr dsrtdwlr(the@sign)infinet-is.com
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 1998 11:21 AM
To: NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org Subject:
Glad to hear from you again. You're the only person I have been in contact with that went through training at the Coronado strand. It was tough training but at 16 years old, I had lots of energy and enjoyed every minute of it. And I loved the boats. Each day we hiked up the beach in the deep sand, went through the obstacle course, and hiked back double time.We attended class every other day and trained on the M boats every other day. At class, we learned about clouds, navigation,semaphore, flags and the Morse code. I was in hogs heaven the first time I got to run the twin diesel M boat. I was young but I had no trouble keeping the boat nice and straight while retracting off the surf. But even with foul weather gear on, I still couldn't keep dry as those waves of the high surf would wash over us.... Brrrr. Were you issued the marine garb? Personally, I preferred the navy blue. Then too, in my day we were issued a hammock and mattress and we had to carry them with us when we moved on, along with the sea-bag. The marine gear just added more weight to carry. We folded the mattress and hammock around the sea-bag and carried them as one piece, they weighed over 120#. When I was transferred to the Columbia, the crew was eager to trade us out of the marine clothing. I traded my raw leather, cord soled shoes for a nice set of gabardine dress blues that fit me perfectly. I dreamed of the day when I could wear them on liberty. ( The only thing is, I never got a chance to wear them because my living quarters got blown away by a kamikaze plane in Lingayen Gulf and I lost them as well as every thing I owned.) I don't mind if you post the e-mail and my address. I don't know how you work it because I haven't had much experience with computers and especially the internet..please let me know how to access it.
Sent: Saturday, June 27, 1998 7:46 AM
To: NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org Subject:
Re: BB-38 T.R. Froemming
Ken, My father was a Chief Warrant Officer (Carpenter) and worked in Damage Control. Iknow that he was onboard when she was torpedoed as this incident bothered him greatly therest of his life. As my mother tells the story, my father had just left that berthing compartment after having been involved with in a poker game and gone back to his stateroom when the torpedo struck. I was very young when he died, so most of what I know is secondhand. The only other clues I have to the dates are: His favorite "Phone Talker"during damage repair was an enlisted man named Sy (I'mguessing at the spelling), and he served onboard at the same time Johnny Carson did (my mom said nobody like Johnny, guess he got the last laugh). I have his "NapkinRing" from the Wardroom, but it is not dated.
As for me, I am from Omaha and joined the Navy in Feb 76 (As soon as I finish this tour, I'll retire). I have served on the USS Sterett CG 31, USS MacDonough DDG 39, USSKing DDG 41 and the USS Hayler DD 997. I was originally trained as a "GMM" and worked on the Terrier Missile System (boy I miss that system). The Navy"dis-established" the GMM and GMG service ratings in Oct 97, we are all now GM's (although it has been that way for E7 and above for about 10 years). After my last shore tour, I was retrained to work on the MK 41 Vertical Launch Missile System and assigned to Hayler.
On the DD's you only have one launcher that holds 61 Tomahawk Missiles. Well, I need toget at my "honey-do list" so I will sign off for now. If you come across any pictures of my father, please let me know. Thanks, take care....
From: Louise Walpole louisew(the@sign)cwnet.com
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 1998 9:42 AM
To: Ken Munro
Thanks for the info..I haven't been able to talk to my Dad about any of this, but havetalked to my brother..We think he transferred off the Pennsylvania and went to the USS Fulton which was in Australia..He had to of picked up the Pennsylvania in 38 or 39. He was from Petaluma Ca. He has gone to the Pennsylvania reunions a couple of times that I know of..Maybe your Dad knows him Richard (dick) Gray. Ithink he would have been a fireman to start out and then became a machinist mate..He was E-6 at the time my mother and he married in 1944. Also Dad goes to the reunions with a Jim Bolar who was on the ship at the time also..
I live in Vacaville Ca. Dad is living in Auburn Ca. If your Dad wants his address Icould send it to you..I really appreciate all the info you sent me...Now I'm going to seewhat I can find out about the Fulton..Dad ended up staying in the Navy for 22 years andreally misses it. You can tell when he starts telling his sea stories..
By the way, I checked out your home page and really enjoyed it..Great pictures and information.. Thanks so much,
If any readershave any info please contact me
From: Ken Munro[ NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org]
To: Betty Mingus (address removed per request)
Subject: Dick Mingus
Betty, I do have all the current names of the members of the crew of the Pennsylvaniaand their address and phone numbers, is there someone Dick is looking for?
From: Betty Mingus [ Address removed per request ]
Sent: Saturday, November 07, 1998 1:43 PM
To: [ NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org ] Subject: Re:
No Problem-- There was a Larry Alexander from Texas Dickwas interested in finding. Also a Martin from Texas and a Jones from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He doesn'tremember first names. Did you serve on the Pennsy? I don't know if you were able to getall of the chat but just in case you didn't, Dick was a baker 2nd class. If it is not tomuch trouble could you print a copy of the list for him or send as an attachment and Iwill print it...Thanks.....Betty....
From: Ken Munro[ NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org]
To: Betty Mingus [address removed per request]
Subject: Dick Mingus
Betty, I did not find any of the people that you mention in the crewmen's roster,however that does not mean that they aren't around, just that they did not send in theinfo when they were requested for the roster. No, my father served aboard her for 3 yearsfrom Pearl Harbor till the end of the war. I am compiling a complete list of this rosterso that I can send it to people if they request it..
Can I post your email on my site and maybe someone who knows the people Dick is lookingfor will contact me or you....?
From: Betty Mingus (address removed per request)
Sent: Saturday, November 07, 1998 4:40 PM
To: NoSpam_ken@usspennsylvania.org Subject:
RE: Dick Mingus
Ken, I would rather you didn't post my e-mail address. I get so much junk now and I don'tknow how they get my address so I don't want it out there for anyone. thanks anyway..................Betty................
Gary, thanks for this wonderful Email and your Dad and all ofthe crew of the USS Pennsylvania are heros and will forever be at Gods side.......,
Sent: Sunday, December 13, 1998 12:45 AM
Subject: Reunion Memories, MitchellRaffanelli
Thanks for remembering my father in your newsletter. Goingto your reunion was the most important thing to him. SO important, that he would not go tothe doctor for his chest pain because he knew the doctor would not let him go to thereunion. He passed away 5 minutes before his ride to the airport got there. He really loved your reunions.
Sent: Sunday, December 13, 1998 10:36 PM
Subject: Re: reunion memories, Mitchell Raffanelli
My dad was great. He would have been 73 on April 26, 1998. Hedied on April 18th at about 4:30 am. We know that because he called his best friend whowas driving him at 4:25 am....and then called his buddy on the ship also going to thereunion at 4:30. He must have hung up the phone, walked across the room and just hit thefloor. My mom woke up at about 4:30 (probably from the boom made from the fall), and foundhim already gone on the floor a couple of minutes later. His ride to the airport arrivedat 4:35. I'll tell you what though, if I have my choice, that's how I wanna go.
I am an entertainer in Reno, Nevada, for 22 years now. 46 yearsold and couldn't be prouder of my father. He struggled all his life with my mom (Married49 years) and we had a lower middle to middle class household in Richmond, CA. He workedthree jobs most of his working life to put us kids (4 - 3 boys and 1 girl) through private Catholic school, gave us all music lessons, gave us vacations most every summer, managed up to three bands as all the boys played music, not to mention keeping a warm roof over our heads, and clothes on our backs, and never wanted for anything while he and my momwent without sometimes. He worked for Chevron Oil his whole life, making $100.00 per year less than the cost of living, but when he retired,
Chevron oil gave him the farm. They were QUITE comfortable afterall the kids were out of the house and my mom has a great life set for her. I hope she gets to spend it all.
The vigil was moved from the mortuary to the church because thechurch held 500 people, 300 more than the mortuary. IT WAS JAMMED. Standing room only,with many people waiting outside that couldn't get in. The next day was the funeral. SAME THING! with about 50% different people than the night before. He was a very popular local citizen. Everyone loved him as I did too. He went to several of your reunions for theship. I don't know much about his military duty. I know he loaded the guns (cannons) that shot at the planes, but I'm not sure what that entailed. I wish he was here to tell us both.
By the way, I typed RAFFANELLI on my search engine, and your newsletter came up.