Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Missed Intercept


Sarge is still a tad under the weather, so Prayers are still in the Order of the Day.  I will attempt to entertain and edumacate in the interim.

So,  There I was.....*

In Baton Rouge for some IT training at LSU.  I'd had Sarge put out the Bat Signal to see if I couldn't entice VX into showing me the proper way to consume Barbacon.  (I'm obviously doing it wrong as it seems let's just say a tad harsh to me, and I love Rum).  We've made contact and made arrangements for Dinner at Parrains Seafood Restaurant.  

Unfortunately, a couple of evenings before the meet, he calls and has to cancel as his Mother is ill.  (Prayers are in order there also).  He's got to go take care of things.  

Family comes first, always.

I'm traveling with my office mate, absolutely brilliant and only slightly more than a third my age.  We decide that we'll visit the restaurant and have one for VX.  OK, Blackened Tuna on Fettucine with melted Bleu cheese crumbles is now on my list of favorite recipes.  VX, wish you could have made it, but thanks for the recommendation.  

Interestingly, my office mate had never eaten seafood before other than Gortons.   He's a convert now.

So, a missed intercept.

Rest easy, I'm not going to regale you with tales of geekishness and new ways to parse a database command.  

No, I'm going to talk about DD-661, AKA USS Kidd.

For those of you, other than Skip, who may not know, this is a Fletcher class Destroyer from WWII. While, if you zoom in on the forward stack, you will see a caricature of a pirate, the ship was not named for  William Kidd the infamous pirate.  Rather the ship was named for Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd who died on the bridge of USS Arizona. Launched in February 1943 and commissioned in April that year.  The Fletcher class was the largest class of Destroyers built, with a total of 175 hulls.  The Kidd had a display for each member of the class.  Most were eventually sold to other navies and then scrapped.  However, a lot were reported as sunk in April 1945 off Okinawa.

It continues to amaze me how one reads something and does not grasp the reality of the situation.  Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Kamikaze's bad.  Got it.


When the reality, is much worse. 


"Nineteen were lost during World War II; six more were damaged and not repaired." Source


That's a lot of ships and men.

So, we paid for our ticket and wandered the museum for a bit.  Met an old friend, now gone.

Jeff DeBlanc, Medal of Honor, Guadalcanal
Stepped across to the ship and gave our tickets to the Docent, a knowledgeable guy about my age.  I would have sworn he was a CPO, but he wasn't.  Health issues had kept him from the Navy.  He gave us a map and told us that the forward part of the ship was under repair and therefore closed, but that we were welcome to wander the aft part of the ship.




We couldn't go forward of the amidships passage (about where the shading starts)
One thing that struck me right away was that this thing LOOKED like a warship!  With no disrespect intended at all, USS Kidd DDG-100 deadly as I'm sure it is, looks like a yacht in comparison.


  
There were weapons everywhere.


The dark objects on the right are depth charges,2 x twin 20 mm are forward of them.  Matched on the Port side.
The Aft 5 inch Mounts
Port  20MM, Torpedo launchers (top left corner), mid-Ship 5 inch Mount
Port side quad 40MM mount
Aft 20MM, which was could be aimed, so my office mate practiced shooting Kamikaze trucks off the bridge.

We'd just been able to tour the aft part of the ship, but had seen 16 20mm guns in 8 mounts, 16 40mm guns in 4 Mounts, 3 5 inch, 5 torpedo tubes and easily 20 depth charge stations.  The ship was built for war.

Which is a good thing because all of that, and more was needed.  April 11th 1945, the Kidd was stationed as a radar picket off Okinawa.  The picket ships were posted out away from the main fleet to provide advance warning of Kamikaze attacks.  Radar at the time did not have the extended range of today's ships, so the radar had to be moved closer to the enemy.  The Japanese quickly figured this out and took to attacking the picket ships trying to punch a hole in the radar coverage.

On April 11th, after helping to repel 3 air raids that morning, she is attacked by a single kamikaze who manages to make it through her defenses and strikes the ship just forward of the amidships passage.  The aircraft was carrying a 500kg bomb which somehow penetrates all the way through the ship and exits the port side before exploding.  The attack killed 38 and wounded 55.  (Source)

A picture of the actual aircraft moments before impact.

A picture of the exit hole and portside explosion damage


After Repair, the ship affixed the bronze plaque where the kamikaze hit listing the casualties

We then went below decks to see how the Navy lived.  Tight spaces do not begin to describe.
The Loo (where 4 ship line abreast takes on a whole new meaning)

 Berthing (Skip, if you want to relive it, you can overnight here)

Finally, a picture of USS Kidd in a storm.  I thought DD meant Destroyer, not Submarine.



All in all the Ship and Museum were an interesting distraction and well worth a visit should you ever have some time to kill in Baton Rouge.
Finally, it wouldn't be right if there wasn't a gratuitous photo of an airplane in one of my posts.





*SJC (put that one in first so I wouldn't forget this time, Skip)

24 comments:

  1. Excellent post Juvat. Nice to see channeling your inner SWO! USS Kidd was one tough can.

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    1. Thanks,
      Knowing how much USS Blueridge and USS Coronado bucked and rolled, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have enjoyed sailing on USS Kidd very much. The last picture of her roiled my stomach a bit.

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  2. Neat post. I actually served in that class DD (in the 60's after their conversion to ASW specialists) and shot most of the weapons you refer to--all except the 40mm Bofors, and of course Depth Charges. Great ships, as were the follow on Sumner and Gearing classes. If you get to Charleston, SC, do visit Patriots point (across the Cooper River). There's a Carrier with lots of airplanes, a submarine, and USS Laffey (DD-724) a Sumner class, and another kamikaze survivor. I served in her, too (as an embarked staff puke).

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    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      I've only been to Charleston once, for ROTC summer camp. Thought it was a great place, the one weekend we had free. Think I'll put that in the vacation planning mill for some future trip.

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    2. There's also beaucoup shopping etc for the distaff side. Also: please reassure me that all's well with Sarge?

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    3. Oh. Almost forgot. The favorite trick in "The Loo" at sea(learned this one as a MIDN on cruise) was to sit on one end of the trough---surreptitiously light a wad of Toilet Paper (back then everyone smoked)--wait for the roll and set the wad adrift down the trough. Singed everyone's uh "sensitive" areas and always good for a laugh. I suspect we're not allowed to do things like that anymore.

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    4. I suspect you're probably right about that.

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  3. Super post Juvat. You nailed it. Worse than most of us can ever imagine. I endured two GQ ship fires, and they were awful, but there was no enemy attacking and never any chance of losing the boat, so only a shadow of what the sailors of WWII experienced.

    Frequently operated alongside Kidd and Callaghan back in the glory days. Those were superb ships; throwbacks in a sense to the Fletchers. Often called the "Dead Admiral" class, those four cans honored four flags who were KIA in the Pacific. Lots of history there.

    Guess I need to add Baton Rouge to the list.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      Baton Rouge is a nice town, a bit of a pain getting into from the west. I think because the port is on the west side of the river, and offload onto 18 wheelers. The entry to I-10 E is right at the bottom of a steep bridge, so they're trying to merge on to the Highway while trying to accelerate up hill. Traffic backs up for 10 miles. Other than that, it's a fun town.

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  4. Nice one Juvat. With all this Navy history, I almost thought I was reading the wrong blog! Looks like I'm a good influence on you. Go Navy.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      I spent most of my Air Force time in the Pacific, Kinda hard not to pick up some appreciation for the Navy.

      Delete
  5. Ah, USS Kidd. Got caught sneaking around down in her machinery spaces fiteen years ago or so when they had said spaces opened up in order to run shore power to her forward turret for a special firing demo. Instead of getting tossed off and escorted to the parking lot like usually happens to me, I wound up getting a front-row seat on her bridge during the firing courtesy of a World WarTwo veteran crew-member who was impressed that I'd go to such an effort to actually see the "real" Kidd. I'll never forget that day.

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  6. Excellent post Juvat, brought back a lot of memories. I did '68 to '72 on a Gearing class, Southerland, DD 743. I have to say however, during that time I never heard the term "loo". It was, and is, the head. For some reason my wife cringes when I use that term around here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Yeah, I knew that, the term was kind of transitional for those who might not know the correct term and not recognize the facility for what it was.

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  7. Quite the piece of history... And she was 'roomy' compared to the DEs...

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  8. Quite the piece of history... And she was 'roomy' compared to the DEs...

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    Replies
    1. I'll bet that's true. Know where one of those is displayed?

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  9. Good post.
    It takes seeing a berthing area to know how many of us were able to live in a space that is smaller than most living rooms.
    The officers had it only marginally better.
    Those racks (bunks) with the canvass stretched to your desired tension were / are more comfortable then today's metal boxes with the thinnish mattress's.
    You could stretch them so tight that it was like sleeping on a piece of plywood or so loose that they were like a hammock.
    Really loose only worked if there was no one below you though.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      Yeah, between the racks and the Loo, I mean Head, privacy seemed to be non existent. .

      Delete
  10. yez yez planes on sticks,

    I liked the Kidd and the Fletcher class. Those were warships.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, planes on sticks are ok, until you've seen one that you had actually flown. Luke (AFB), I'm talking about you!

      The ship and class were definitely built for war, the crew turned it into a warship.

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  11. Those picture of the head and berths bring back some not so fine memories of a 14 day trip aboard the General Maurice Rose Army troopship. Atlantic Ocean, January, on what was scheduled to be a nine day trip, Brooklyn to Bremerhaven. On the bright side, it wasn't three weeks to Korea.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not positive and not sure I can confirm, but I think I rode on that ship from San Francisco to Okinawa, Mom and I. She mentioned a General x x troop ship Pacific trans when I was an infant.

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