I am assembling this column on 1 December. I’ve said this before but let me repeat, I say “assembling” because I try to put it together from what you have sent to me via snail or email. As a result it usually ends up being an eclectic collection of interesting thoughts. By the way, I never dispose of anything you send until I use it or conclude I will never use it.
Let’s begin this time with some nostalgia. This was found for us by Dick Rubenstein 22nd Co. in the Kansas City, MO Star. It brings back some unrelated memories for me since I sold that paper on the street corner in 1933/34. This article is from 1947—
MIDSHIPMEN WILL CRUISE THIS SUMMER
Two Battleships, Two Carriers Going To Northern Europe. By the Associated Press
The Navy yesterday ordered two battleships and two carriers to Northern Europe this summer on a training cruise which will stop short of any visit to Russian waters.
The nearest the warships will go to the Baltic Sea, where Russian influence is strong, will be Copenhagen, Denmark. The itinerary was announced without any explanation except that this is to be the first training cruise for Naval Academy Midshipmen since before World War II
(Scribe’s note: I wonder how they classified the cruises in ’45 and ’46?)
Accompanying the Battleships NEW JERSEY and WISCONSIN will be the Essex class carriers KEARSARGE and RANDOLPH, the destroyers CONE, STRIBLING, O’HARE and MEREDITH, and the FORT MANDAN, a landing ship (Dock).
The squadron will be commanded by Rear Admiral John Perry and will arrive in European waters about June 19 for a month’s stay. Ports of call are to be Portsmouth, Weymouth, Plymouth, Greenwich and Woolwich in England, Rosyth in Scotland, Oslo in Norway, Goteborg in Sweden, and Copenhagen.
The cruise will follow by about two months the visit of another group of United States warships to Greek and Turkish waters, including the strategic Dardanelles over which Russia wants to share control with Turkey.
A second, related item from the paper—
MIDDIES LAND IN ENGLAND
Royal Entertainment Is Set for Sailors on Training Cruise.
Portsmouth, England, July 9.
(AP)-Annapolis midshipmen on a summer training cruise hit the beach here today following the arrival of a 5-ship U.S. naval squadron for a 9-day visit.
Civic authorities appropriated $12,000 to entertain the 6,000 middies and sailors, and rounds of parties and dances were planned.
Twenty of the midshipmen-not yet named-will travel to London tomorrow to attend a royal garden party at Buckingham palace.
More about ships, this one from Frank Boushee 8th Co.:
I copied this from our Battleship web site/friends of the battleship newsletter. Maybe some of our classmates may know if engine room components were removed via the boilers/exhaust stack. The BB email was Battleship NORTH CAROLINA email@example.com . I believe Randy Patterson 13th Co. was ADM A. Burke’s action officer for the transfer of the ship to the state of NC. Half of the class was on NC for our first class, but I doubt if we learned that as Midshipmen.
“Stafford Morss, CDR USNR (Ret), has written Excellence Under Stress, an article comparing machinery installations on NORTH CAROLINA class and later class battleships. The paper was sent to our staff for review and to retrieve some additional information and photographs from our archives. In assisting Mary Ames Booker with research for Morss, I learned a couple of interesting facts I wanted to share and a mystery to be solved. First was the criterion for the size and shape of the machinery spaces. The engine rooms could have been larger, but the designers had to consider worst case scenarios such as major flooding from a torpedo hit. Larger spaces would have included a major transverse bulkhead. If that bulkhead was compromised in flooding then both machinery spaces would be flooded: 5600 tons of flooding, almost 14% of the ship’s total displacement.
How small could the machinery space be? The main condensers use scoop injection of seawater that can be obtained at normal ship speeds. In order for this to occur, the condensers are mounted longitudinally. Condenser tubes need to be replaced when they leak and removal is from the forward end so there had to be room to allow removal and replacement of the tubes. Moreover, the location of the reduction gear/propeller shaft coupling, the length of the main propulsion turbines and gears dictated how far back the space could be designed. This fact set the minimum machinery space length at 44 feet.
The second item of interest involves a mystery to be solved. There are portable (removable) plates in the overhead of each engine room space to allow vertical removal of the reduction gear’s bull gear and stub shaft. This is the largest single engine room component that could not be disassembled into smaller pieces. I cannot find any sign of an opening in the armor above the reduction gears, but there are removable panels in the boiler exhaust flashing. Does anyone know if they removed engine room components through the stack?
Recently I became aware that the USPS had put out a stamp honoring Bill Mauldin. I really enjoyed his work particularly my favorite cartoon of the cavalry Sgt. standing beside a jeep with a broken axel. He has his 45 against the hood and his head turned away, hand over his eyes. Anyway, I went to the post office, asked for the Mauldin stamp and got a blank stare. One of the older clerks had overheard my request and fished the stamps out of the drawer. My clerk did recognize Mauldin when he saw the stamp.
That leads me to a letter from Bill Pierson 10th Co. including an article from Time magazine dated March 1, 1948. Officers Keep Out- The Navy rule had always been: no talk of women, politics or religion in the wardroom. But for two years now, Annapolis midshipmen had been sponsoring something called the Wardroom Panel, where such guests as Navy critic Rear Admiral (ret.) Ellis M. Zacharias, Columnist Frank Kent, Lieut. General Albert C. Wedemeyer and Lord Inverchapel could damn the torpedoes or anything else they pleased. Some did and some didn’t. Last week Cartoonist-Author Bill Mauldin, who used to be an Army enlisted man himself, stood up front. As usual, no officers were invited, but a record 1,200 midshipmen turned out.
An army and navy, said young (26) Bill Mauldin, “as instruments of foreign policy, are temporarily necessary”—but the thing to work for is a stronger United Nations and then world federalism. In the meantime, thought Mauldin, he could suggest a few improvements in the services.
Said he: “Somewhere along the line I’ve gained the reputation of hating officers. I don’t. Some of my best friends are officers. But the assumption that officers are gentlemen and enlisted men are peasants is a hangover from the Middle Ages. The caste system makes it a degrading and humiliating thing to be an enlisted man, and it shouldn’t be.” Mauldin wanted courts-martial composed 50-50 of officers and enlisted men, thought that officers should serve in the ranks first.
Mauldin’s remarks, which would surprise no readers of his UP FRONT but did not exactly follow the Annapolis line, brought enthusiastic applause. His audience knew what he was talking about: of 2,815 midshipmen at the postwar Academy, 54% have done time as enlisted men.
Bill Pierson also included the picture which accompanied the article; however, it would not reproduce for publication. The people in the picture whom he could identify were, “Mid’n Hugh Donald (Cactus Jack) Adair, 1/c (another “Army Brat” who grew up on various Army posts in the 1920’s and 30’s (as did I) and whom I knew before we went to USNA. He was KIA in Korea, 1950, by a Chinese grenade thrown into his foxhole at the Chosan Reservoir. Mid’n Wm C. “Bill” Pierson, 1/c Chairman of the Wardroom Panel. Cartoonist/Author Bill Mauldin.”
Since the last column four Classmates and one Class Wife have crossed the bar. Our condolences to the families.
17th Co. Melhorn, R.E. on 7/13/10
17th Co. Davis, N.E. on 10/22/10
2nd. Co. Clithero, J.D. on 11/10/10
23rd Co. Pawloski, T.J. on 9/6/10
and Maureen Boland on 10/19/10. Wife of L.J. Boland 13th Co. deceased 9/7/03
We shall miss each of them as our numbers continue to diminish.
On Oct 10th I received the following email from Gene Mulligan 1st Co. Life has a way of surprising us now and then. Dorothy and I went to a church retreat two weekends ago, where I developed an unusual bellyache Friday after dinner. It kept me awake most of the night, and Pepto-Bismol the next morning didn’t help. So we headed off to the nearest hospital in Winchester, VA, where an x-ray disclosed an intestinal blockage requiring surgery.
It turns out I’d developed a kink in the small intestine that was related to (caused by?) adhesions from an appendectomy some seventy years ago. So under the knife I went, with good results—no malignancy involved. I made a normal hospital recovery, had my first solid food Thursday, tubes came out Friday, and I was released last Saturday. (33 staples came out this past Thursday). Except for tiring easily I’m pretty much back to normal, hope to resume swimming in a week or so.
Doctors tell me that except for the appendectomy history this incident was entirely unforeseeable. I’ve since learned of at least one other acquaintance who needed this surgery at a much younger age. Another point made is that persistent abdominal pain for anyone over 65 should receive a prompt medical attention.
It’s a great gift to live in an age and country where one’s life can be saved by an excellent surgical team!!I
In Sept. Bob McClinton 11th Co. brought me up to speed on his great grandchildren as follows:
Miss Makayia Ann joined our Idaho members on 16 Sep. Mother, daughter and proud father (our grandson) are doing well we are most thankful for such blessings. The roster of great-grands (ID and VA) includes four girls and five boys. The eldest will turn 13 this Fall. Life is good.
Scribe note: Bob, you just may lead the pack for most great grand children. Does anyone out there claim more the 9 greats?
A recent discussion on email concerning the Reina Mercedes elicited the following from Ralph Smith, non-graduate. As a resigned member of the Class of ’48 I really enjoyed the info on the Reina Mercedes. I vividly recall being billeted there after coming from Bainbridge, where those of us from “the fleet” spent 6 weeks at the prep course. The messmen were moved out of the Reina Mercedes to accommodate us for 2 or 3 days before we were moved to Bancroft Hall. I subsequently married a Puerto Rican lady and lived on the Island for about 3 years. Her grandfather was a Spanish Army man from Asturias, Spain, and in the course of researching her genealogy I came across a letter he had written in Puerto Rico just on the eve of the Spanish American War. He was then over 60 years old, but promised to defend Spain “con mi brazo, y con mi espada! (with my arm and with my sword). He never got that chance because P.R. capitulated very rapidly, and at least one of my wife’s relatives became an interpreter for the American commander coming up from the Guanica landing.
With that I have used all the material I had saved so I would appreciate it if you would send along some reports on events or experiences to be used in the next column.
I pray that your Thanksgivings were as wonderful as our’s was and that your Christmas or other Holy Days were indeed blessed. Dave