"A Copse. Evening"

"A Copse. Evening"
A. Y. Jackson, 1918
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ward's Baby Book

There she is, "Liberty Destroyer # 139, still in utero.
We won't contemplate the abuses that a term like "Liberty Destroyer" would undergo in the present lexicon. It would be a good screen name for someone though, someone like Obama!
The Baby, later christened "USS Ward DD-139" was notable for two reasons.
First, she was the first ship constructed in an accelerated, wartime program at the Mare Island Navy Yard in California.
Secondly, as the baby announcement above states (I'll leave that analogy now), she was built in record time; 17 1/2 days from laying the keel to launching. May 15, to June 1. July 18, 1918, she was commissioned. Eight weeks from "a ship on paper" to one that's floating in the ocean flying the ensign. Not bad.
Now, a photo album:
































She's the one in the middle.
Fast forward to 1941.
Below, the gun and crew that fired the first, American shots of the Second World War.

"A Shot for Posterity -- The USS Ward's number three gun and its crew-cited for firing the first shot the day of Japan's raid on Hawaii. Operating as part of the inshore patrol early in the morning of December 7, 1941, this destroyer group spotted a submarine outside Pearl Harbor, opened fire and sank her. Crew members are R.H. Knapp - BM2c - Gun Captain, C.W. Fenton - Sea1c - Pointer, R.B. Nolde - Sea1c - Trainer, A.A. De Demagall - Sea1c - No. 1 Loader, D.W. Gruening - Sea1c - No. 2 Loader, J.A. Paick - Sea1c - No. 3 Loader, H.P. Flanagan - Sea1c - No. 4 Loader, E.J. Bakret - GM3c - Gunners Mate, K.C.J. Lasch - Cox - Sightsetter." (quoted from the original 1942-vintage caption)
This gun is a 4"/50 type, mounted atop the ship's midships deckhouse, starboard side.


















And, a photo of the same gun, displayed at the Minnesota State Capitol (The Ward was crewed largely with men from the Minnesota Naval Reserve).


















Time marched on for the little ship that could.
Photo below, a representative bunch of the enlisted, ship's force displaying her "scoreboard".


















The photo's caption at the LOC:

"Crewmen pose with their ship's battle "scoreboard", soon after the Biak Invasion, circa June 1944. Nearly all of these men had served in Ward since the beginning of the War, and were present when she sank a Japanese midget submarine just outside Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December 1941.
The original caption, released by Commander Seventh Fleet on 4 August 1944, reads: "Sansapor, Dutch New Guinea, falls to the Allied Forces, July 30, 1944. One might almost say - Sansapor falls to the boys from St. Paul, Minn. - as all but two of these men come from that city and the entire group has shipped together since Pearl Harbor, with the actions and results shown on their banner. As a matter of fact, they are believed to have fired the first offensive shot of the war in the Pacific, while on patrol against Japanese subs. They are L/R: (bottom row) J.L. Spratt, MM2/c; A.J. Fink, CM2/c; O.S. Ethier, MM1/c; C.W. Fenton, BM1/c; D.R. Pepin, SM1/c; J.G. LeClair; SOM2/c; F.V. Huges, SOM2/c. (Top Row) R.B. Nolde, SF1c; W.G. Grip, BM2c; H.F. Germarin, S1c; H.J. Harris, MM1c; H.K. Paynter, CMoMM; J.K. Lovsted, CMMM; W.H. Duval, CCS, (of San Diego); I.E. Holley, CSK (of Los Angeles); W.S. Lehner, SC1c; F.J. Bukrey, CM1c; and F.L. Fratta, MM1c."


Alas, everything comes to an end.
USS Ward was sunk by a Kamikaze attack near Leyte in the Phillippines, three years to the day after her moment of glory at Pearl Harbor.















So's we're not bummed out, here's a great picture of some soldiers chowing down on deck.
Ultimate coolness; riveted deck plates.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page