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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Gone, But Not Forgotten...

USS Lexington (AVT-16)
This all started with a link to footage of a T-2C Buckeye attempting a touch and go aboard USS Lexington on the 29th of October, 1989. I've probably seen that video a dozen times. My youngest learned her trade in the backseat of the Buckeye. Seeing that video was personal, I know a number of men and women in naval aviation.

Watching the video* this time was different, I wondered, "Who was the pilot of that aircraft?" So I went looking, and found -
A Navy pilot was killed in a crash on the USS Lexington. October 29, 1989 - U.S. Navy T-2C Buckeye,BuNo 158876, of VT-19, crashes into Vultures' Row on the island of training carrier USS Lexington,AVT-16 during a wave-off  approach, operating in the Gulf of Mexico 22 miles South of NAS Pensacola, Florida, killing five and injuring 20. Killed were the student pilot, three seaman, and a civilian employee of the Navy.This was the last aviation accident on the Lady Lex before her retirement to a museum ship at Corpus Christi, Texas. Killed in the crash were the pilot, Ensign Steven E Pontell, 23, Columbia, Maryland, who was alone in the two-seat trainer; Lexington crewmen Petty Officer 3rd Class Burnett Kilgore Jr., 19, Holly Springs, Mississippi; Petty Officer 3rd Class Timmy L. Garroutte, 30, Memphis, Tennessee; Airmen Lisa L. Mayo, 25, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and a civilian employee of DynCorp who had the contract to maintain Navy aircraft, Byron Gervis Courvelle, 32, Meridian, Mississippi. (Source)
I could not find pictures of Mr. Courvelle or PO3 Garroutte, but I did find pictures of PO3 Kilgore and AN Mayo -


It is terrible to lose such fine men and women at any time, but to lose them in a training accident seems particularly bad. Truth be told, it happens far too often.

Now who was that young man attempting to get aboard for the very first time? The Naval Academy's Memorial Hall has this -

Steven E. Pontell, ENS, USN
USNA Class of 1988

(Source)
As I read the entry on ENS Pontell a little further on, I found this -
Steven's brother, Darin Pontell '98, was killed in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
Darin H. Pontell, LT, USN
USNA Class of 1998

(Source)
LT Pontell was a classmate of my son-in-law Tuttle.

Fourteen Naval Academy graduates lost their lives on 9/11. I read further on that LT Pontell was one of three members of the Class of 1998 to have entries in the Memorial Hall:

Matthew Shubzda, LT, USN
USNA Class of 1998
LT Matthew Seth Shubzda, USN, died on October 18, 2002 during a training exercise in which he was simulating combat flying and his F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed into the Pacific Ocean 80 miles southwest of Monterey.
Seth R. Michaud, Capt, USMC
USNA Class of 1998
Captain Seth R. Michaud, USMC, a 27-year-old helicopter commander, died on June 22, 2003 in a military exercise in Djibouti when a B-52 dropped nine M117, general-purpose bombs during a practice mission. The bombs hit near troops and two Marine CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters parked adjacent to the bombing range, officials said. His was the only death in the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, which had begun training in counter-terrorism in Africa in November.
Raul D. Jimenez, LT, USN
USNA Class of 1998
LT Raul David Jimenez, USN, a Navy flight instructor and his student were killed January 27, 2006 when their training plane crashed three miles south of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. The single-propeller T-34 crashed into a field off Yorktown Boulevard between Linda Lee Road and Madison Street at 9:43 a.m. The T-34C craft, assigned to Training Squadron 27, crashed while conducting routine flight training.
Dave (aka Fuzz) commented the other day -
Men and women give their all today. I hope their stories will someday be told.
We tell them as we find them.

Never forget...



Dusty today, awfully dusty...




* I won't post the video here, now that I know the names behind this horrific accident, I can't really bear to watch it again. It's here if you want to see it.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Miss You, Dad...

Robert Bain Goodrich
June 6, 1928 - February 28, 2010
Can't believe it's been ten years...

Feels like yesterday...

Feels like long ago...

Love you Dad.



Storm, Lightning and Thunder. Plus an Eagle.

Polish destroyers during Operation Peking.
View from the stern of ORP Błyskawica looking towards ORP Grom and ORP Burza.

No doubt at this point The Chant's Polish correspondent Paweł is exclaiming, "Najwyższa pora!" *

Paweł has mentioned in comments a couple of times that I should do a post on the Polish destroyer, ORP Błyskawica. A ship which in World War II logged 146,000 nautical miles and escorted 83 convoys in the North Atlantic. She was launched on the first of October 1936, commissioned on the 25th of November 1937, and decommissioned on the first of May, 1976. She was built in a British shipyard and is currently a museum ship in Gdynia, Poland.

Her name in Polish translates to "Lightning," an apt name for a destroyer especially considering that she exceeded her design speed of 39 knots during her sea trials. (Note that "ORP" stands for Okręt Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, "Warship of the Republic of Poland." So ORP is analogous to "USS" and "HMS.") She and her sister ship ORP Grom (Thunder) were the only two ships of the Grom-class.

At the start of World War II Poland's coastline was only 88 miles long, so the nation had a rather small navy, the assumed enemy in the Baltic being the Soviet Union, with good reason. When war with Nazi Germany loomed, a plan (the Peking Plan) was initiated which would send three of the Polish Navy's four destroyers to Great Britain before the outbreak of hostilities.

The Polish Navy in 1939
Click to embiggen
(Source)

Of course there was some resistance in Polish government circles to the idea of sending a big chunk of the fleet to the UK. When some thought was given to the idea, cooler heads realized that keeping the ships in Poland would probably result in their destruction. The lead ship of the Wicher-class (ORP Grom was her sister ship), ORP Wicher ("Gale") demonstrated that point -
ORP Wicher, the lead ship of the Wicher-class, was a Polish Navy destroyer. She saw combat in the Invasion of Poland, which began World War II in Europe. She was the flagship of the Polish Navy. She was sunk by German bombers on 3 September 1939, making her the first warship sunk during World War II. (Source)
On the 30th of August, 1939, with war imminent, the Polish destroyers ORP Błyskawica, ORP Grom, and ORP Burza, were underway.
On August 30, around noon, Fleet Command received a radio signal about the start of Operation Peking. The ships got underway at 14.15 and in line astern formation, ORP Błyskawica leading, sailed towards Hel, and after passing it towards Bornholm. Information about their putting out to sea had been intercepted by German radio listening units, they were also detected several times by German units (including submarine U-31) and He-59 aircraft from Kü.Fl.Gr. 506 (Küstenfliegergruppe - coastal aviation squadron). At night, the Polish squadron was trailed by three German destroyers, then by the German light cruiser Königsberg and her escorts. On August 31 the squadron passed Kattegat, sighted by two U-Boats on the way, and in the afternoon sighted again by flying boats, most likely from Kü.Fl.Gr. 306. On September 1, at 9.25 a.m., the Polish ships received a radio messaging announcing the start of hostilities. In the early afternoon the Polish squadron rendezvoused with the British destroyers HMS Wanderer and HMS Wallace, which led them into port at Leith. There, and again in Rosyth, they were kept in "friendly internment" (treated not as units of a warring party, but as if they were conducting a courtesy visit) until September 3 - the day Great Britain declared war on Nazi Germany. (Source)
German Heinkel He-59
(Source)
Operation Peking locations mentioned above

ORP Grom was lost in the Norwegian campaign after being hit by two bombs from a German Heinkel He-111 bomber. ORP Burza survived the war and was a museum ship until she was replaced in that role by ORP Błyskawica. She was scrapped in 1977.

ORP Błyskawica's war record was fairly typical for an Allied destroyer in the Atlantic theater, with the exception of course that her crew's homeland was under Nazi occupation with all the horror and misery that entailed.
On 7 September 1939, ORP Błyskawica made contact with and attacked a U-boat. 
In early May 1940, ORP Błyskawica took part in the Norwegian Campaign, shelling German positions and downing two Luftwaffe aircraft. Her sister ship Grom was bombed and sunk during the campaign. Later that month, she took part in covering Operation Dynamo, the successful British led evacuation from Dunkirk. 
During the rest of the war, ORP Błyskawica took part in convoy and patrol duties, engaging both U-boats and the Luftwaffe in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. In 1941 her 120 mm guns were replaced with British 4-inch dual-purpose guns. The ship was also given escort duties for troop transports, notably RMS Queen Mary, being one of the few ships that could keep up with the liner. 
On the night of 4–5 May 1942, ORP Błyskawica was instrumental in defending the Isle of Wight town of Cowes from an air raid by 160 German bombers. The ship was undergoing an emergency refit at the J. Samuel White yard where she had been built and, on the night of the raid, fired repeatedly at the German bombers from outside the harbour; her guns became so hot they had to be doused with water from the River Medina. Extra ammunition had to be ferried over from Portsmouth. This forced the bombers to stay high, making it difficult for them to target properly. The ship also laid down a smokescreen hiding Cowes from sight. The town and the shipyard were badly damaged, but it is generally considered that without this defensive action, it would have been far worse. (Source)
It's important to remember that Poland never surrendered in world War II. The government and large portions of the armed forces managed to get out of Poland before Nazi and Soviet forces managed to overrun the entire country. The Polish government in exile (Rząd Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej na uchodźstwie) maintained a presence in London throughout the war. They never recognized the Soviet occupation of Poland after the war and the setting up of a Communist regime in Poland. This government stayed in existence until 1990!
When Soviet influence over Poland came to an end in 1989, there was still a president and a cabinet of eight meeting every two weeks in London, commanding the loyalty of about 150,000 Polish veterans and their descendants living in Britain, including 35,000 in London alone.
In December 1990, when Lech Wałęsa became the first non-Communist president of Poland since the war, he received the symbols of the Polish Republic (the presidential banner, the presidential and state seals, the presidential sashes, and the original text of the 1935 Constitution) from the last president of the government in exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski. In 1992, military medals and other decorations awarded by the government in exile were officially recognized in Poland. (Source)
Quite frankly, the Western Allies screwed Poland at the end of World War II, along with everyone else in eastern Europe by allowing Stalin's Red Army to set up multiple Communist governments throughout the region: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Albania, and Bulgaria. (Note that Yugoslavia screwed themselves.) Greece came perilously close to going Communist after the war.

ORP Błyskawica is the only Polish Navy ship to have been decorated with the Virtuti Militari, Poland's highest military order for gallantry.

Museum ship ORP Błyskawica in Gdynia, Poland
(Source)

Which reminds me of the story of the Polish submarine, ORP Orzeł ("Eagle"), which escaped from Talinn in neutral Estonia near the beginning of the war. Giving the Soviets a pretext for occupying Estonia and subjecting that beautiful land to over fifty years of horror, first under Soviet occupation, then Nazi, then Soviet again until they gained their freedom in 1991.

ORP Orzeł

The story of ORP Orzeł's escape from the Baltic reads like a James Bond story.
ORP Orzeł was docked at Oksywie when Nazi Germany attacked Poland, setting off World War II. The submarine initially participated in Operation Worek, but withdrew from the Polish coast on 4 September as the situation evolved. Damaged by German minesweepers and leaking oil, the decision was made to head for Tallinn, which was reached on 14 September 1939 at about 01:30. Lieutenant-Commander Henryk Kłoczkowski, the commanding officer, was taken to a hospital the next day for treatment of the unidentified illness he had been suffering from since 8 September.

The Hague Convention of 1907 enjoined signatories, including Germany, from interfering with the right of enemy warships to use neutral ports, within certain limits. Initially, the Estonians were quite accommodating of
ORP Orzeł, assisting with the repair of a damaged compressor. However, probably because of German pressure, Estonian military authorities soon boarded the ship, declared the crew interned, confiscated all the navigation aids and maps, and commenced dismantling all the armaments. An Estonian officer removed the naval ensign at the submarine's stern.

The crew of
ORP Orzeł conspired to escape under the new command of its chief officer, Lt. Jan Grudziński, and its new first officer, Lieutenant Andzej Piasecki. This started with Grudziński's sabotage of the torpedo hoist on 16 September, preventing the Estonians from removing the six aft torpedoes. Since it was a Sunday, another one couldn't be immediately acquired. Meanwhile, Boatswain Wladyslaw Narkiewicz took a small boat around the harbour. Under the guise of fishing, he covertly measured the depth of the planned escape route. Another sailor sabotaged the submarine's mooring lines.

At around 00:00 on 18 September, the port lights suffered an unexplained malfunction. Seizing the opportunity, Lieutenant Grudziński prepared the submarine for departure. The crew was forced to delay by the arrival of an Estonian officer. After a 30-minute inspection, he deemed nothing to be out of the ordinary and bid the Poles goodnight. The crew resumed with their plans. Two Estonian guards at the dock were lured aboard and nonviolently taken prisoner, the lighting in the port was intentionally sabotaged, and the mooring lines were cut with an ax. Both engines were started, and the submarine made her escape in the darkness.

Estonian spotlights began sweeping the harbour, from the buildings to the quay, before finally locking onto
ORP Orzeł. The Estonians opened up with machine guns and light artillery, damaging the conning tower. Heavier guns supposedly didn't open fire for fear of damaging other ships. At the mouth of the harbor the submarine briefly ran aground on a sandbar, but quickly managed to get free and escape into the Baltic.

Lieutenant Grudziński intended to seize the maps of a German vessel, as all of ORP Orzeł's navigational aids, with the exception of a guide of Swedish lighthouses, had been confiscated. No German merchantmen were ever spotted, though. After three weeks of searching, it was decided to leave the Baltic and head for Britain. It took two days to pass through the heavily guarded entrance. The only references the Poles had were the lighthouse guide and a rudimentary map drawn by the navigation officer.

The Estonian and German press covering the incident claimed that the two captured guards had been murdered by the Polish sailors. In reality they were deposited off of the Swedish coast in a rubber dingy provided with clothing and food for their safe return home. The two guards were also provided with 50 US dollars each, as the Polish crew believed that those returning from the underworld "deserve to travel first class only."

ORP Orzeł made landfall off of Scotland on 14 October. The crew sent out a signal in broken English, and a British destroyer came out and escorted them into port. ORP Orzeł's arrival came a surprise to the Admiralty, which had long presumed the submarine lost. (Source)
ORP Orzeł's subsequent involvement in the war was short-lived.
After a refit, ORP Orzeł was assigned to the Royal Navy's 2nd Submarine Flotilla, and was assigned to patrol missions. Shortly after noon on 8 April 1940 she sank the 5,261 ton clandestine German troop transport Rio de Janeiro off the small harbour village of Lillesand in southern Norway, killing hundreds of German troops intended for the invasion of Norway. Rio de Janeiro was heading to Bergen in order to take part in the initial landings of Operation Weserübung - the invasion of Norway and opening move of the Norwegian Campaign. News that several hundred German soldiers were rescued by the Norwegian Navy and some had admitted their intention to occupy Norway reached the Norwegian parliament that evening, however this news was dismissed and no steps were taken to alert their Navy or Coast Guard of the impending invasion. Two days later ORP Orzeł fired a torpedo at a German minesweeper V 705; however, she was forced to dive before the sinking of the German ship could be confirmed-the ship was not damaged by the torpedoes.

ORP Orzeł departed on her seventh patrol on 23 May, to the central North Sea. On 1 and 2 June a radio message was transmitted from Rosyth ordering her to alter her patrol area and proceed to the Skagerrak. No radio signals had been received from her since she had sailed, and on 5 June she was ordered to return to base. She never acknowledged reception, and never returned to base. 8 June 1940 was officially accepted as the day of her loss. Although various theories exist regarding her loss, and it is commonly believed that she ran onto a mine in the Skagerrak, the true cause of her loss remains unknown to this day. There is the possibility that ORP Orzeł may have been sunk either by a British minefield or by an adjacent German minefield, or mistakenly attacked by a British airplane. (Source)
A sad end for a fine boat and crew.

A salute to brave Allies.


Niech żyje polska Marynarka Wojenna!




* About time!
That last bit is "Long live the Polish Navy"

Thursday, February 27, 2020

In Harm's Way

USS Hazelwood (DD-531)
Before we get started, this post started by being all about a particular ship, then I did some more reading. Spent a lot of time at the U.S. Naval Academy Memorial Hall website, where I spent time reading about graduates of the Academy who had been lost at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 (24 killed in action on that day, from ensigns to a rear admiral). Then I dug into the history of the ship I planned on posting about, things got dusty in a hurry. (Still kinda dusty as I type this.)

The ships by themselves are nothing. It is the crews of those ships that turn them into warships, instruments of national power. This is the story of the crew of one such ship. So how did this post get started? As often happens, it was a comment from a reader...


LL blogs over at Virtual Mirage and is a man with experience in defense of the Republic. Damned fine writer as well. As his dad served in the Pacific, I thought to honor his and his shipmate's service. As I started digging, and reading, I was amazed. Where do we get such men?

"Struck by a kamikaze..." doesn't begin to describe the Hell those men went through on that day.

Here's an account* from a man who served aboard USS Hazelwood (DD-531) with LL's Dad, Ensign Frederick C. Butler -
On Sunday, 29 April 1945, Task Force 58, under the command of Adm. Marc Mitscher, was defending the Army and Marine amphibious forces that had landed on the beaches at Okinawa on 1 April. Hazelwood was one of the nine destroyers in Destroyer Squadron 47 (DesRon 47) in the outer screen, 10-mi from the fleet center, defending the carriers and battleships against submarine and low-flying air attacks. During the period 1-29 April, the task force’s aircraft had been busy providing bomb support for the land forces and defending against Japanese air attacks.
At about 1650 on 29 April, their sister ship, USS Haggard (DD-555) was hit by a kamikaze about 10 mi from them and the Hazelwood was ordered to stand by her. On their way to assist the Haggard, they were at general quarters with all hands at their battle stations, and the author's station being in the after engine room. Soon, all of the Hazelwood’s 5-in/38-cal guns began firing, along with the 40mm and 20mm guns, too. After a lot of firing, the author felt a small explosion off the port stern and a couple of light bulbs in the engine room were shattered, as a kamikaze flew by at close range but missed the Hazelwood.
Soon, a second plane came in from astern, low on the water, and hit the Hazelwood at 1731. One of the kamikaze’s wings struck the #2 stack and knocked the 40mm director off its mount and down to the main deck. The plane crashed into the port side of the superstructure, just above the main deck and a fire started.
In the after engine room, the crew, including the author, neither felt nor heard anything. However, they lost communication to the bridge and the forward engine room. They did not know they had been hit until, about 10-min after the hit, they started taking smoke into their space through the ventilation system, not a lot but certainly noticeable. A little later, it was noticed, by the author for some unknown reason, the system was losing water. The Chief [Chief Trunkhill] was asked if he could see any leaks in the engine room and, after a quick check, he said no. The Chief was instructed to shut down the main engines. This chain of thought quickly went through all of our minds: We are losing water and will be losing steam and electric power; the lubricating pump for the main engines is motor-powered and if they lose lubrication, the main bearings will be ruined in a New York minute. They shut down the after engine room and notified the after fire room by phone.
Many of the crew was below deck....and did not learn any details of the disaster until they went topside, where they was to see the raging fire. The ship was dead in the water and had little with which to fight the fire. Lieutenant (jg) Chet Locke, the engineering officer, was directing the fire-fighting from the starboard deck, throwing cans of foam on the blaze - the only fire-fighting tool they had until about 25-min later, when other ships came alongside to help them out. The author helped with assisting and supervise the damage-control parties. Of the 18 officers assigned to the ship, 10, including the commanding officer, were killed in the attack; four were wounded, leaving four able-bodied surviving officers, including the author. Of the approximately 310 enlisted men, 67 perished and 30 were wounded. (Source)
Three USNA graduates were among the officers killed in action that day -

(Source)
Commander Douw was in the process of turning over command of USS Hazelwood to Lieutenant Commander Hering -

From "Aircraft Carrier" by J. Bryan, III
April 28th [1945]. At sea
As we stood away, one of the Hazelwood's officers took me up to the bridge and introduced me to their skipper, Comdr. Volckert P. Douw, a crisp, smart-looking man, with the warmest smile I've ever seen. We chatted a few minutes, then he said, "I bet you don't know who you're talking to. No? I'll tell you: you're talking to the happiest guy in the whole goddamn Navy! See that man standing there?"—he pointed to the other wing of the bridge—"That's my relief. He's going to take over in a couple of days, and I'll go home and see my wife and kids for the first time in God knows when."
We were coming alongside another CVE, the Attu, which was giving me a lift to Guam, so I told the skipper goodbye and wished him well. He had no messages for me to send his wife; he thought he'd get home before I would.
April 30th [1945]. At sea
… This morning [my friend] Hays took me up to the bridge and gave me the long glass and pointed to a destroyer on our starboard beam. "Look at that mess," he said.
Her bridge was smashed flat. Her foremast was hanging over the side. The starboard 40mm mount was lying on the deck.
Hays said, "A kamikaze hit her Saturday afternoon, just after you came aboard. I saw the dispatch, but I've forgotten the exact number of casualties. I know she's requesting a new skipper."
I put the glass on her bow. Her number stood out clearly: "531"—the Hazelwood.
Damn, just damn...

USS Hazelwood after the kamikaze attack.

It's not enough, at least for me, to know the names of the ships and the actions they were involved in, it's also important to know the names of those who gave the last full measure...

Officers
  • CDR Volckert P Douw - Commanding Officer, KIA, Body not recovered
  • LCDR Walter A Hering - Executive Officer, KIA
  • LT James P Lenderink, KIA
  • LTJG Edward L Broadwater, KIA
  • LTJG John P Dunbar, KIA, Body not recovered
  • LTJG Malcolm H Robertson, KIA
  • LTJG Phillipp P Sebastian Jr, KIA
  • LTJG Joseph J Silhavy Jr, KIA
  • LT William E Strube - Ship's Doctor, KIA, Body not recovered
  • WO Kenneth R Sturgeon, KIA
Enlisted
  • MOMM3 E C Adams, KIA
  • Y1 David M Barber, KIA, Body not recovered
  • RM2 Kenneth E Barrett, KIA
  • SEA1 Joseph Bellas, Died of wounds
  • B1 Edward S Bends, KIA
  • RDM2 Theodore W Bergstrom, KIA
  • CWTP Leo A Bowers, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SEA1 Ernest J Brady, KIA, Body not recovered
  • RDM3 Joseph A Burd, KIA
  • QM2 Homer V Callis, KIA
  • FCO2 John P Campbell, KIA
  • RDM3 William A Carbone, KIA
  • CCSP Luigi C Celentano, KIA
  • RM3 Edmund J Cieciorkoski, KIA
  • MM1 David G Comstock, KIA
  • SOM2 Russell L Craven, KIA, Body not recovered
  • RM3 Bennie E Damelin, KIA
  • TM2 Robert J Fahrig, KIA
  • EM2 Eldon G Fisher, KIA
  • EM2 Gerald M Green, KIA
  • MM3 Swift C Greenway, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SEA1 Leslie E Gunderson, KIA
  • SK1 Paul Gwinn, KIA, Body not recovered
  • RM1 Thomas F Hannon, KIA
  • WM2 Robert J Hubkey, KIA, Body not recovered
  • FC1 Edwin R Johnson, KIA, Body not recovered
  • BM2 Albert F Kalkbrenner, KIA
  • SOM1 Edward E Kallin, KIA
  • SEA2 Nathan F Kett, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SOM3 Willard L Kunze, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SEA1 James R Lanning, KIA, Body not recovered
  • RDM3 Robert H Law, KIA
  • MOMM1 Kenneth E Long, KIA
  • RDM3 George J Lorber, KIA
  • RDM2 Edward J Magliochetti, KIA, Body not recovered
  • RT1 Paul Mcmills, KIA
  • SEA1 Dan F Mcnamara, KIA
  • PHM1 Frank Myernick, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SEA2 William E Newell, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SF1 Melvin L Nicholson, KIA
  • MM1 Allen E Olson, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SEA1 Harold B Parks, KIA
  • RDM3 Frank Patronis, KIA
  • GM3 Richard T Peterson, KIA
  • SEA1 Edward A Rafferty, KIA, Body not recovered
  • Y1 Harold A Read, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SC3 Robert J Reese, KIA, Body not recovered
  • RM2 Eugene W Riley, KIA
  • SEA1 Kenneth C Riness, KIA, Body not recovered
  • QM1 John W Roberts, KIA
  • RDM3 Robert L Sarr, KIA, Body not recovered
  • EM1 Glenn C Stabenow, KIA
  • RM2 Clifford J Stipanovich, KIA
  • WT2 Alex G Targonski, KIA
  • CBMA John A Vanmeter, KIA, Body not recovered
  • EM3 Glenn E Vogt, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SM2 Robert K Voisinet, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SEA1 Carl E Wainwright Jr, KIA
  • BKR3 Arlo H Wanless, KIA, Body not recovered
  • F1 Mitchel W Wewiorski, KIA
  • TM2 George J Wheeler, Died of wounds
  • SEA1 Charles H Wilson, KIA, Body not recovered
  • CFCP Joseph W Witkowski, KIA, Body not recovered
  • SM3 Clarence G Witzig Jr, KIA
  • RDM3 Anthony C Zadrozky, KIA
  • WT3 Raymond J Zoska, Died of wounds

Requiem
Robert Louis Stevenson

Under the wide and starry sky,
    Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
    And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
    Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill.


Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

The Greatest Generation indeed.

Godspeed.





* With some minor editorial corrections from Your Humble Scribe
USS Hazelwood survived the war, she was decommissioned in December of 1974. (Source)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A Great Name for a Warship

USS Cassin Young (DD-793)
So why is "Cassin Young" a great name for a warship?
The Navy traces its ancestry to 13 October 1775, when an act of the Continental Congress authorized the first ship of a new navy for the United Colonies, as they were then known. The ships of the Continental Navy, and of the Navy later established under the federal Constitution, were not named in any strictly categorical manner.
Ship names in the Continental Navy and the early federal Navy came from a variety of sources. As if to emphasize the ties that many Americans still felt to Britain, the first ship of the new Continental Navy was named Alfred in honor of Alfred the Great, the king of Wessex, who is credited with building the first English naval force. Another ship was named Raleigh to commemorate the seagoing exploits of Sir Walter Raleigh. Some ships honored early patriots and heroes (Hancock and General Greene). Others commemorated the young nation's ideals and institutions (ConstitutionIndependenceCongress). A 74-gun ship-of-the-line, launched in 1782 and donated to the French navy on completion, was named America. A Revolutionary War frigate named Bourbon saluted the King of France, whose alliance would further the cause of American independence. Other ship names honored American places (BostonVirginia). Small warships ─ brigs and schooners ─ bore a variety of names. Some were named for positive character traits EnterpriseDiligence). Others had classical names (SyrenArgus) or names of small creatures with a potent sting (HornetWasp).
On 3 March 1819, an act of Congress formally placed the responsibility for assigning names to the Navy’s ships in the hands of the Secretary of the Navy, a prerogative which he still exercises. This act stated that “all of the ships, of the Navy of the United States, now building, or hereafter to be built, shall be named by the Secretary of the Navy, under the direction of the President of the United States, according to the following rule, to wit: those of the first class shall be called after the States of this Union; those of the second class after the rivers; and those of the third class after the principal cities and towns; taking care that no two vessels of the navy shall bear the same name.” The last-cited provision remains in the United States Code today.
... 
From the 1880s on, cruisers were named for cities while destroyers ─ evolving from the steam torpedo boats built around the turn of the twentieth century ─ came to be named for American naval leaders and heroes, as today's destroyers are still named. (Source)
The general rule of thumb is that United State Navy destroyers are named after naval leaders and heroes. I can think of one instance (which I shall not name here, no doubt there are many among you who can figure it out) where technically a destroyer was named after a naval "leader." Only insofar as the President of the United States is the ex officio leader of the Navy.

But the ship depicted in the opening photo is named after a man who truly was, in every sense of that word, a hero.

Captain Cassin Young, United States Navy,
USNA Class of 1916
(March 6, 1894 – November 13, 1942)
Captain Young received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941 -

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Commander Cassin Young (NSN: 0-9615), United States Navy, for distinguished conduct in action, outstanding heroism and utter disregard of his own safety, above and beyond the call of duty, as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. VESTAL (AR-4), during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by enemy Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. Commander Young proceeded to the bridge and later took personal command of the three-inch anti-aircraft gun. When blown overboard by the blast of the forward magazine explosion of the U.S.S. ARIZONA, to which the U.S.S. VESTAL was moored, he swam back to his ship. The entire forward part of the U.S.S. ARIZONA was a blazing inferno with oil afire on the water between the two ships; as a result of several bomb hits, the U.S.S. VESTAL was afire in several places, was settling and taking on a list. Despite severe enemy bombing and strafing at the time, and his shocking experience of having been blown overboard, Commander Young, with extreme coolness and calmness, moved his ship to an anchorage distant from the U.S.S. ARIZONA, and subsequently beached the U.S.S. VESTAL upon determining that such action was required to save his ship.
Later in the war, Captain Young received the Navy Cross (posthumously) for his actions while in command of USS San Francisco (CA-38) -

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Captain Cassin Young (NSN: 0-9615), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), during an engagement with Japanese naval forces near Savo Island on the night of 12 - 13 November, 1942. On this occasion the force to which Captain Young was attached engaged at close quarters and defeated a superior enemy force, inflicting heavy damage upon them and preventing the accomplishment of their intended mission. This daring and intrepid attack, brilliantly executed, led to a great victory for his country's forces. By his indomitable fighting spirit, expert seamanship, and gallant devotion to duty, Captain Young contributed largely to the success of the battle and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
The actions of USS San Francisco at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (12–15 November 1942) are worth quoting at length -
On 31 October 1942, the newly designated TF 65 departed from Espiritu Santo, the ships again headed into the Solomon Islands to cover troop landings on Guadalcanal. Bombardment missions in the Kokumbona and Koli Point areas followed. On 6 November, the transport group completed unloading, and the force retired, arriving at Espiritu Santo on 8 November. On 10 November, San Francisco, now flagship for TG 67.4, got underway again toward Guadalcanal. 
Just before noon, a Japanese twin-float reconnaissance plane began shadowing the formation. 
The force arrived off Lunga Point on 12 November, and the transports commenced unloading. By mid-afternoon, an approaching Japanese air group was reported. At 1318, the ships got underway. At 1408, 21 enemy planes attacked.
At 1416, an already-damaged torpedo bomber dropped its torpedo off San Francisco's starboard quarter. The torpedo passed alongside, but the plane crashed into San Francisco's control aft, swung around that structure, and plunged over the port side into the sea. 15 men were killed, 29 wounded, and one missing. Control aft was demolished. The ship's secondary command post, Battle Two, was burned out but was reestablished by dark. The after anti-aircraft director and radar were put out of commission. Three 20 mm mounts were destroyed. 
The wounded were transferred to President Jackson, just before the approach of an enemy surface force was reported. The covering force escorted the transports out of the area, then reassembled and returned. At about midnight, San Francisco, in company with heavy cruiser USS Portland, the light cruisers Atlanta, Helena, and Juneau, and eight destroyers, entered Lengo Channel. 
At 0125 on 13 November, a Japanese naval force was discovered about 27,000 yd to the northwest. Rear Admiral Callaghan's task group maneuvered to intercept in what became the first engagement in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. At 0148, in almost pitch darkness, San Francisco opened fire on an enemy cruiser 3,700 yd off her starboard beam. At 0151, she trained her guns on a small cruiser or large destroyer 3,300 yd off her starboard bow. Then in an attempt to locate other targets, San Francisco accidentally targeted Atlanta. San Francisco's gunfire caused extensive damage to Atlanta, killing Admiral Scott and most of Atlanta's bridge crew. Belatedly, San Francisco realized she was firing on a "friendly" ship and ceased fire. The green dye that San Francisco used to distinguish her shells from those of other ships, was later found stained on Atlanta's superstructure before she sank. Shortly thereafter, Hiei was sighted and taken under fire, at an initial range of only 2,200 yd. 
At about 0200, San Francisco trained her guns on Kirishima. At the same time, she became the target of Nagara off her starboard bow and of a destroyer which had crossed her bow and was passing down her port side. The enemy battleship joined the cruiser and the destroyer in firing on San Francisco whose port 5 in battery engaged the destroyer but was put out of action except for one mount. The battleship put the starboard 5 in battery out of commission. San Francisco swung left while her main battery continued to fire on the battleships which, with the cruiser and the destroyer, continued to pound San Francisco. A direct hit on the navigation bridge killed or badly wounded all officers, except for the communications officer, Lieutenant Commander Bruce McCandless. Command fell to the damage control officer, Lieutenant Commander Herbert E. Schonland, but he thought his own efforts were needed to keep the ship "afloat and right-side up", so he ordered McCandless to stay at the conn. Steering and engine control were lost and shifted to Battle Two. Battle Two was out of commission by a direct hit from the port side. Control was again lost.
Control was reestablished in the conning tower, which soon received a hit from the starboard side. Steering and engine control were temporarily lost, then regained. All communications were now dead.
Soon thereafter, the enemy ceased firing. San Francisco followed suit and withdrew eastward along the north coast of Guadalcanal.
Seventy-seven sailors, including Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan and Captain Cassin Young, had been killed. Captain Young, like the San Francisco, was a veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack. 105 had been wounded. Of seven missing, three were subsequently rescued. The ship had taken 45 hits. Structural damage was extensive, but not fatal. No hits had been received below the waterline. Twenty-two fires had been started and extinguished.
At about 0400, San Francisco, all her compasses out of commission, joined Helena and Juneau and followed them through Sealark Channel to sail to Espiritu Santo for initial repairs.
At about 1000, Juneau's medical personnel transferred to San Francisco to assist in treating the numerous wounded. An hour later, Juneau took a torpedo on her port side from I-26, striking in the vicinity of the bridge. "The entire ship seemed to explode in one mighty column of brown and white smoke and flame which rose easily a thousand feet in the air. The Juneau literally disintegrated." San Francisco was hit by several large fragments from Juneau. One man was hit, both his legs were broken. Nothing was seen in the water after the smoke lifted. The surviving ships were ordered to keep going without stopping to look for survivors. Unfortunately, the 100+ survivors (out of a total complement of 697) of Juneau were forced to wait eight days for rescue while floating in the ocean, undergoing intense shark attacks. Only ten survived.
On the afternoon of 14 November, San Francisco returned towards Espiritu Santo. For her participation in the action of the morning of the 13th, and for that of the night of 11–12 October, she received the Presidential Unit Citation. On 18 November, the cruiser sailed for Nouméa, and, on 23 November, she got underway toward the United States. She reached San Francisco on 11 December. Three days later, repairs were begun at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. (Source)
USS San Francisco (center) after being hit by a Japanese plane in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 12 November 1942.
Ship at left is President Jackson.
Warships need to be named after men and women whose example will be an inspiration to their crews, an inspiration to the men and women who may be required to take their ship into harm's way and fight her to the best of their abilities. Who may, in dire need, give their lives for their shipmates.

Captain Cassin Young, United States Navy, that's the type of person you name a warship after. That, my friends, is how you inspire the generations which follow.

USS Cassin Young berthed at Boston Navy Yard





Captain Young's Medal of Honor is on display at the Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis MD. His son, Stephen Cassin Young, was also a graduate of the USNA, Class of 1950.

Other Sources:
  • U.S. Naval Academy Memorial Hall Website
  • Wisconsin Historical Society Website
  • The Lucky Bag, 1916
  • The Lucky Bag, 1950

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Midshipman Jarvis

USS Bagley (DD-386) lead ship of the Bagley-class of destroyers.
An interesting comment from the Naval Air Cowman the other day -
Regarding Destroyers at Guadalcanal, Jarvis (DD-393) is a haunting example. She'd been "torpedoed" in what may have been an early Kamikaze attack on August 7 while defending the landing effort. Following hasty repairs at Tulagi she headed for major repairs in Australia the next night and blundered into Mikawa's cruisers and was torpedoed again during the Battle of Savo Island. Over the next few hours she was sighted by USS Blue and by a U.S. carrier search plane. Then she disappeared, and her fate was unknown until post-war study of Japanese naval records revealed that she'd been the sole target of a 30+ aircraft strike package and sunk with all hands. Robb White wrote a very fine "what if" novel about the lost ship called Silent Ship, Silent Sea; well worth the read IMO.
USS Jarvis (DD-393) was one of the eight destroyers of the Bagley-class, all of which were present at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 -
All eight Bagley-class destroyers were present at the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. They all served in the Pacific during World War II, with Jarvis, Blue, and Henley lost in combat. In 1944 Mugford suffered extensive damage from a kamikaze hit that put her out of combat for six months. Ralph Talbot later received a kamikaze hit off Okinawa. After the war, Bagley, Helm, and Patterson were decommissioned in 1945 and scrapped in 1947. Mugford and Ralph Talbot, still in commission, were targets during the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests at Bikini atoll in 1946. Contaminated by radiation, they were scuttled off Kwajalein in 1948.
From damaged to sinking, the ordeal of USS Jarvis.
(The island labeled "Solomon Islands" is actually Guadalcanal.)
USS Jarvis was only one of two ships of the United States to be lost with all hands during World War II (the other was USS Pillsbury (DD-227)), there were two sets of brothers aboard the ship when she went down: John M. and Robert A. Pierpont also Lans W. and Osbern W. Wilson. (Full crew roster is here.)

All of which led me to this - USS Jarvis' namesake was James C. Jarvis, born in 1787, appointed midshipman from New York in 1799, during the Quasi-War with France. He was killed in action at the age of thirteen!
Jarvis was appointed midshipman from the state of New York in 1799. Midshipman Jarvis was killed at the age of 13 during the historic engagement between the famed frigate Constellation and the French frigate La Vengeance 2 February 1800. Sent aloft in command of the topmen to secure Constellation's unsupported mainmast, he refused to come down when warned that the mast might topple: "My post is here. I can't leave it until ordered." As the mast crashed, Jarvis was swept over the side with the falling rigging.
Honoring Jarvis for his bravery and devotion to duty, the Sixth Congress by Joint Resolution 29 March 1800 deemed his conduct "deserving of the highest praise" and his loss "a subject of national regret."
"Resolved, That the conduct of James Jarvis, a midshipman in said frigate, who gloriously preferred certain death to an abandonment of his post, is deserving of the highest praise; and that the loss of so promising an officer is a subject of national regret." Thomas Hart Benton, Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856, Vol. II, p. 471.
In 1937, the US Navy named a destroyer after James C. Jarvis. The USS Jarvis (DD-393) was sunk off Guadalcanal on August 9, 1942. In 1944, a second destroyer was named after Jarvis (DD-799). (Source)
Constellation and La Vengeance engaged in combat.
(Source)
It was one of those engagements where both sides thought they had won -
Casualties were heavy on both sides, and both vessels were in such poor condition that each commander thought he had sunk his opponent. Most of La Vengeance's rigging had been blown away; only the lower foremast, lower mizzenmast, and bowsprit were operational. Pitot set course for Curaçao and was forced to ground his vessel there to prevent her from sinking. The number of French casualties is somewhat unclear: official French accounts report 28 dead and 40 wounded, while accounts from Curaçao state that the French frigate had lost 160 men. Once Pitot reached Curaçao he was beset with further problems. La Vengeance remained out of action for months due to difficulties in acquiring support needed to repair the frigate from the Dutch officials there. A French expedition to seize the island brought the materiel needed to repair the frigate, but when asked to help attack the island Pitot refused and slipped away to Guadaloupe.
Constellation had suffered heavy damage with 15 of her crew slain and a further 25 wounded, of whom 11 later died. The ship sailed to Port Royal, Jamaica, for a refit, but Truxton could not complete the necessary repairs because of a shortage of naval stores. The ship left Jamaica a week after she arrived, with only her mainmast replaced. After escorting a convoy of 14 merchantmen back to the United States, Truxton sailed his battered frigate to Hampton Roads for a proper refit. Only after he returned to the United States did the American commodore finally learn that the La Vengeance had not been sunk. Truxton was considered a hero and received considerable praise for his actions. In response to his battle with Pitot's frigate, the American government commended Truxton with a Congressional Gold Medal depicting the battle. James C. Jarvis, a 13-year-old Midshipman who was killed when the mainmast collapsed, became famous for his bravery during the battle. (Source)
A brave ship named for a brave lad.

You should read Captain Truxtun's report on the battle here.

It's stories like this which make all your comments on our various posts so enjoyable, we learn something, you learn something.

Thanks for that!








Monday, February 24, 2020

What is a Wingman?


Yannow...Sometimes there's a great convergence in the internet where, all of a sudden, your recommendations all revolve around a single subject.  Youtube has several videos along similar subjects.  You pull up a search engine and type the letter "W" and it immediately populates the results screen with exactly what you were thinking of.  It's almost like they're tracking you.

Not that I'm paranoid or something.

Ok, maybe a little.

So...There I was *  doing my daily perusal of the latest posting by Sarge.  He seems to be on an artistic type binge.  Bored or something I guess.  Hasn't had anybody around to keep him on the straight and narrow for a while. Went off on a tangent and has been making blog headers for weeks now.

What's the count now?  I think we've got one a week for the next 75 years or so.

However, evidently things have changed and somebody's trying to get him whipped back into shape. I managed to get a video of his training regimen.



All that having been said, several of the headers are really spectacular.  One in particular I like (other than the obvious one...The Eagle).  This one.





The header uses Charles Schreyvogel's "My Bunkie" painting.  Schreyvogel was a self-taught artist and this painting, in 1901, earned him the Thomas Clark Prize from the National Academy of Design starting him on a successful artistic career.

Source
A commenter had noted that the painting's title and subject were the "... 19th century equivalent of brave pilots who went after their wingmen."

My immediate thought was that it's a heck of a lot easier to rescue your wingman when you're galloping along the ground at  30MPH and scoop your wingman up, than it is to be swooping along at 500MPH several hundred feet above.

But, his point was somewhat valid.  Growing up in Fighters, it was drilled into me, "Never lose sight of your lead."  Ever.  No matter what.  I actually had a lead tell me that "if my Lead hit the ground while I was in formation, there'd better be two holes."

The last flight of the T-38 Thunderbirds comes to mind.

However, while upgrading to flight lead, the corollary to the the wingman's rule was hammered home.  "Never leave your wingman behind."  Ever.  No matter what.

So, I have somewhat of an understanding of the Cavalryman's train of thought.

Not having anything to contribute to that thread of comments, I went about my business and turned to U2B (as Prairie Adventurer likes to say).  One of my recommendations was a History Guy video entitled "Jesse Brown and Thomas Hudner: A Tale of Two Pilots ".  Since the lead picture was of a F-4U Corsair, I figured it would be worth spending 15 minutes to watch.

This is where the great convergence came into focus.

The event takes place in the Korean War.  Ensign Jesse Brown  was the first African-American Naval Aviator flying off the USS Leyte in Fighter Squadron 32.  His flight lead is LTjg Thomas Hudner.  They are flying sorties in support of Marines around the Chosin Reservoir.  The Chinese have entered the war and vastly outnumber the Marines who are trying to retreat.  It's winter, it's cold, even by Korean standards.

The Corsairs are flying Close Air Support for the Marines.  After several passes, Ensign Brown radios that he's taken a hit and is losing fuel pressure.  After trying to fix the problem unsuccessfully, Ensign Brown radio's that he's going to have to belly land the aircraft and does so.

Unfortunately, during the landing, the instrument panel breaks free and traps Ensign Brown's legs.  Worse, the aircraft has started a small fire.  (Fire and High Octane Aviation Fuel is NOT a good combination).

Lt Hudner does a low level fly by of the crash, see's Ensign Brown in the cockpit waving at him, so knows he's alive.  The site is about 15 miles behind the enemy's lines, so time is of the essence.  He explains the situation and a rescue helicopter is launched.  However, it becomes apparent to Lt Hudner that Ensign Brown is trapped in the cockpit.

He elects to crash land his aircraft nearby and does so.   Uninjured, he rushes over to Ensign Brown's aircraft and tries to extricate him, unsuccessfully.  Radioing the other aircraft, requests that the helicopter bring an ax and saw to help with the extraction.  Then he begins trying to put out the fire with snow, using his bare hands.  Successfully.

The helicopter arrives and the pilot and Lt Hudner try until nightfall to extract Ensign Brown, unsuccessfully.  They make the Ensign as comfortable as possible and plan to come back in the morning with better equipment to extract him.

The mission the next morning to extract is cancelled by higher headquarters due to extreme risk.







On September 15th 1952, another example of never leaving your wingman occurred.  Lt Col Robbie Risner (Rise'- nur) was escorting Fighter Bombers attacking a target on the Yalu river, the border between North Korea and China.  During the mission, they are attacked by Chinese MiGs.  Risner engages then and is chasing one back towards its home base.  Having scored multiple hits on the MiG, Risner chases it between hangar buildings scoring more hits.  Eventually, he shoots the MiG down.  It crashes into parked fighters.

On the way out of the area, his Wingman, Lt Joseph Logan, is hit in the fuel tanks by AAA (HISSSSS!) and is draining fuel.  In an attempt to get him home, they climb to altitude.  Risner then has Lt Logan shut down his engine.  Risner gets behind him and sticks the nose of his F-86 in the F-86's tailpipe and begins to push him in an attempt to minimize his sink rate and get him within gliding distance of friendly territory.



 Near an Allied occupied island in the Yellow Sea, Risner tells his wingman to bail out.  He does, however, winds cause his chute to drift out to sea.  On landing, he becomes entangled in his chute and drowns.  Risner runs out of fuel shortly thereafter, but manages to dead stick his jet to a landing at Kimpo AB outside of Seoul.

I knew of Brig Gen Risner, through his exploits as a POW during the Vietnam war.  I didn't know about this episode until I was "pointed" to it while viewing another little convergence recommendation.

I had heard about this next convergence episode while transitioning to the F-4, in 1978.  Virtually all my IP's and IWSO's had combat time in Vietnam.  Unfortunately, "Jimmuh" was in charge, so rules were plentiful and flying time was not.  Neither of which were  conducive to building combat skills.  However, buying my instructor's a beer at the squadron bar would give me extensive lessons on what I needed to know.

One of those stories was known as Pardo's Push.  The convergence here was a fairly recent article in the San Antonio Express News about the event and its aftermath.

Source

 It's March 10th, 1967, Capt Bob Pardo is a pilot in the 8TFW (of which, both Sarge and myself are alumni) and is scheduled to fly as #2 in a 4 ship attacking a North Vietnamese Steel Mill.  During the attack, both Pardo and # 4, flown by his friend Capt Earl Aman, are hit.  Aman is leaking fuel badly and starts an immediate climb to altitude with fuel streaming from his aircraft.  A fuel check shows that he doesn't have enough gas to exit North Vietnam.

Pardo maneuvers his Phantom under Aman's plane attempting to piggy-back it out of danger.  He forgets that air rushes both under and over the airplane.  As he makes the attempt, the airflow from Pardo's aircraft pushes Amans tail higher into the air, meaning the aircraft starts descending into Pardo's.

Oops.

Pardo backs out, and then has Aman lower his tail hook.  The tail hook on the F-4 was a holdover from when the Phantom was a Navy jet.  It's humongous.

Aman does and Pardo moves back into position and puts the tail hook directly on the front pane of the canopy.  This section is very thick and supposedly bullet proof. The "lore" of this tale says that Pardo pushed Aman to safety this way.

This painting is correct, if you notice the hook is not on the windscreen
Source

Pardo, in this article, says that very shortly after making contact, the canopy glass started to fracture, so he backs out again.  Still not giving up ("Never give up, Never Surrender"), he moved back in.  This time he positions the hook on the metal vent that is used to blow hot engine exhaust over the wind screen for rain removal and anti-fog protection.

(I used that once.  It got very hot, very fast in the front seat.  It was effective, but uncomfortable. 800o exhaust gas is somewhat...warm.)

Back to the story, juvat!

Aye, mi muy viejo sargento de la fuerza aérea!

This vent apparently is sufficiently strong, as they are able to progress towards Laos.  Finally, near a Special Forces base, and almost out of fuel and altitude and having shut down one engine due to a fire, Pardo backs away and Aman and his WSO bail out.  They are successfully recovered.  

Pardo attempts to make it to a near by field, but flames out shortly thereafter.  He and his WSO successfully bail out and are recovered.

When asked what the favorite part of this story was, Capt Pardo replied “Lucy may tell you she thinks it’s wonderful because Earl came home and they got to have two sons,”

Lucy is Capt Aman's wife. 

Now for the (as Paul Harvey might say), the "rest of the story".  Lt Hudner received the Medal of Honor for his actions with Ensign Brown. Ensign Brown received, posthumously, the Distinguished Flying Cross.  Brig Gen Risner would go on to receive 2 Air Force Cross medals in Vietnam, the first for Gallantry in Air Operations, the second for his actions as a Senior POW.  I also detailed a similar rescue last month which resulted in Major Bernie Fisher receiving the Medal of Honor for rescuing his wingman in Vietnam.

Well...what about Capt Pardo, juvat?

Capt Pardo ran afoul of the 7th AF Commander, Gen Spike Momyer (MO' my-er), who wanted to court martial him for his actions.  Shoe Clerks** got to shoe clerk.  Capt Pardo's Wing Commander, Col Robin Olds went to bat for him.  Momyer agreed not to court-martial him if Col Olds would not put him in for a medal.

That was that, until well after the war.  Capt Pardo's story was becoming well known among pilots and reached the ears of Senator John Tower, R-TX, who asked him about it.  After hearing the story, Senator Tower recommended that Capt Pardo and his WSO be awarded the Air Force Cross.  In 1989, they received the Silver Star as did Capt Aman and his WSO.

 I think the Cavalryman in the Painting would approve of these warriors.

* Standard Juvat Caveat


** There are two kinds of people in the USAF.  Fighter Pilots and Shoe Clerks.  A Fighter Pilot puts the mission and its people first.  Shoe Clerks put themselves first.  Many pilots who fly fighters are Shoe Clerks.  Many folks that don't fly fighters are Fighter Pilots.  This is the USAF translation of Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.