Posted in Military History

1 October: Today in U.S. military history

USS Newport News — the U.S. Navy’s last all-gun heavy cruiser

Today we honor the 20 sailors killed aboard USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148) on this date in 1971 when an 8-inch shell detonated in the bore of the Number 2 turret during combat operations off the coast of North Vietnam. Lost were: Seaman Apprentice Herman C. Acker (19 years old, from Reserve, La.), Seaman Jack S. Bergman, Jr. (20, Baltimore), Boatswain’s Mate Third Class William Clark, Jr. (22, Vienna, Ga.), Gunner’s Mate Third Class Charles W. Clinard (21, Maysfield, Texas), Seaman Apprentice Ronald P. Daley (20, Marshfield, Mass.), Seaman Recruit Raymond R. Davis (19, Shreveport, La.), Seaman Terry W. Deal (21, Taylorsville, N.C.), Seaman Joseph Grisafi (21, Springfield, Pa.), Seaman Apprentice William Harrison III (19, Clifton Forge, Va.), Gunner’s Mate Second Class Tommy M. Hawker (27, Sutherlin, Va.), Seaman Apprentice Robert M. Kikkert (18, Muster, Ind.), Seaman Edward R. McEleney, Jr. (19, Medford, Mass.), Seaman Apprentice Robert T. Moore (20, Philadelphia), Seaman Apprentice Stanley G. Pilot, Jr. (18, Salisbury, N.C.), Seaman Ralph L. Robinson (20, Baltimore), Gunner’s Mate First Class Wesley H. Rose (37, Indianapolis), Seaman Apprentice Ricky L. Rucker (18, Baltimore), Seaman Apprentice Jeffrey L. Scheller (18, Rahway, N.J.), Seaman David L. Scott (18, Seymour, Mo.), and Seaman Richard C. Tessman (18, Seymour, Mo.). 36 others were wounded before damage control parties brought the blaze under control.

1918: When German soldiers attack the lines of the 110th Infantry Regiment, Irish immigrant and U.S. Army Maj. Joseph H. Thompson courageously defies enemy machinegun and artillery fire to encourage his troops, repulsing two separate assaults. Later, when his troops are stalled by enemy machinegun and anti-tank fire, which disabled all but one of the American tanks, Maj. Thompson charged forward of his line on three occasions through withering fire to guide the last remaining tank to a position where it could neutralize the machinegun nest. For his actions, Maj. Thompson was awarded the Medal of Honor.

In 1971, “Colonel Joe” Thompson, a former football star and successful coach at the University of Pittsburgh before leaving to fight in Mexico and World War I, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Continue reading “1 October: Today in U.S. military history”

Posted in Military


Some sweet B-roll footage of Carrier Air Wing 11 F/A-18 Hornets launching and landing on the deck of USS Nimitz (CVN-68) during Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. One day after this video was recorded, carrier aircraft conducted the first air strikes against ISIS targets in two-and-a-half years. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 3nd Class Kyle Merritt)

While the U.S. Navy has maintained a constant carrier presence either in the North Arabian Sea or the Gulf of Oman since May of 2019, the arrival of Nimitz marks the first time a U.S. carrier strike group has entered the Persian Gulf in ten months.

Continue reading “Hornets”

Posted in Images Military History

A look inside a World War II-era destroyer

This was a centerfold spread in the Navy’s October 1954 ALL HANDS magazine. Click image for high-resolution version.
Adm. Frank F. Fletcher (left) and Adm. Frank J. Fletcher

I recently came across this fascinating cross-section of a Fletcher-class destroyer. The Navy commissioned 175 of these highly effective and cost-efficient ships during World War II, and we turned around after the war and sold several of the ships to the Japanese, Germans, and Italians.

These destroyers get their name from Adm. Frank F. Fletcher, skipper of the battleship USS Vermont during the Great White Fleet’s around-the-world cruise, who then earned a Medal of Honor commanding the landing at Vera Cruz, Mexico.

His nephew Lt. Frank J. Fletcher also earned the Medal of Honor at Vera Cruz for rescuing hundreds of refugees under fire. He then earned the Navy Cross while in command of a destroyer during the first world war. Although not an aviator, “Black Jack” Fletcher’s task forces defeat the Japanese in the first three carrier battles in history: Coral Sea, Midway, and the Eastern Solomons.

Bell X-1A, Chuck Yeager, USAF
Posted in Military History

12 December: Today in U.S. military history

Today’s post is in honor of Sgt. Jarrod W. Black, who was killed by an improvised explosive device on this day in 2003 in Ramadi, Iraq. Black, 26, of Peru, Ind. was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment.

1753: 21-year-old Virginia adjutant George Washington delivers an ultimatum for French forces to abandon Fort Le Boeuf (present-day Waterford, Penn.) as they were trespassing on British territory. Lt. Christopher Gist, Washington’s guide, would save the future president’s life twice during their trip through the Ohio Country.

1770: Six British soldiers charged with murder for their role in the Boston Massacre are acquitted thanks to their counselor, future president John Adams. He argued that they were endangered by the mob and had the right to defend themselves. Of the eight soldiers and one officer to stand trial (Capt. Thomas Preston had been acquitted in October), two are found guilty of manslaughter and are branded on the thumb.

“Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently,” Adams wrote. “As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right. This however is no Reason why the Town should not call the Action of that Night a Massacre, nor is it any Argument in favour of the Governor or Minister, who caused them to be sent here. But it is the strongest Proofs of the Danger of Standing Armies.”

Continue reading “12 December: Today in U.S. military history”

Posted in Military History

10 December: Today in military history

Today’s post is in honor of Staff Sgt. Wesley R. Williams, who was killed by an improvised explosive device in Kandahar, Afghanistan on this date in 2012. Williams, 25, of New Carlisle, Ohio, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division and had previously deployed to Iraq.

1941: When a Japanese submarine reports the sighting of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) northeast of Hawaii, Japanese vessels still in the area are ordered to attack. Meanwhile, one of Enterprise‘s bombers spots the submarine I-70 and drops a 1,000-lb. bomb, just missing the sub, but knocking out its ability to submerge. Later, another SBD Dauntless finishes off the crippled I-70, sending the sub to the bottom – the first fleet submarine lost by the Japanese and the first to be sunk by aircraft during World War II.

Off the coast of Malaya, the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales (featured image) and battle cruiser HMS Repulse become the first capital ships sunk solely by air power during the war. Prime Minister Winston Churchill would later say, “In all the war I never received a more direct shock. […] There were no British or American capital ships in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific except the American survivors of Pearl Harbor who were hastening back to California. Over this vast expanse of waters Japan was supreme and we everywhere were weak and naked.” Continue reading “10 December: Today in military history”