Commissioning of a Navy Ship

The commissioning ceremony marks the acceptance of a ship as a unit of the operating forces of the United States Navy.

At the moment of breaking the commissioning pennant the ship becomes the responsibility of the Commanding Officer, who, together with the ship’s officers and crew, has the duty of making and keeping her ready for any service required by our nation in peace or war.

The commissioning pennant is believed to date from the 17th Century, when the Dutch were at war with the English. The Dutch Admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp hoisted a broom at his masthead to indicate his intention to sweep the English from the sea. This gesture was answered by the English admiral who hoisted a horsewhip, indicating his intention to subdue the Dutch. The English were victorious and ever since the narrow “coachwhip” pennant has been adopted by all nations as the distinctive mark of a ship of war.

The modern U.S. Navy Commissioning pennant is blue at the hoist with a union of seven white stars, and a horizontal red and white stripe at the fly. In lieu of a commission pennant, flagships fly Commodore’s or Admiral’s flags, hence the name flagship.



U.S.S. Saratoga

Legendary A/C Carrier USS Saratoga to sail off to scrapyard in 1-cent deal

Go to:




Mastering the Harpoon & Taming the Neptune

Before the Navy P3 “Orion” Land based Patrol Plane, which revolutionized Air Anti-Submarine Warfare and a product of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, there were two other notable land based VP aircraft, by Lockheed, worth mentioning. These two aircraft in the order of production and service in Naval Aviation were the PV-1 & 2 “Harpoon” & the P2V-1, -3, 3W, 5, 5F and the P2V-7 Neptune.

For the complete story on the Harpoon, go to …

For the complete story on the Neptune, go to …

Lake Michigan aircraft carriers????

Even if you weren’t Navy, this is very interesting. Pres. George H, W. Bush trained aboard one of these. Great photographs.

Here’s an interesting piece of WWII history. It would appear that there is a selection of War Birds from the US Navy waiting to be recovered off the bottom of Lake Michigan.
The official terminology at the time was “Mishap”…………The

Great Lakes provided vital support for the war effort in WWII, from
building 28 fleet subs in 
Manitowoc to providing the bulk of U.S. industrial
output, we could not have won the war if not for the benefits of the Great
Lakes and their related industry. However there was another benefit of the
lakes that is often overlooked. 
Japan quickly lost the war because, among
many other things, its navy could not replace its carrier pilot losses. We
could. But how did we train so many pilots in both comfort (calm seas) and
safety (no enemy subs)?
We took two old side-wheel

Great Lakes passenger steamers and turned them into training carriers on Lake Michigan! Virtually every carrier pilot
trained in the war got his landing training on these amazing ships! Sadly
nothing but these great photos and the wrecks of the aircraft that ditched
alongside them remain to tell their fascinating story! Thanks to Tom Ursem
for sending this link!
Check this out! USS Sable and USS Wolverine … Go to …

What you may not have known about the Ford Motor Company

Go to:

History of the Aircraft Carrier

Go to:



A true story about 19 marines killed defending an island against the Japanese. The marines  had to retreat, so the islanders were asked to please bury those killed in action & left behind

Years later, U.S. officials checked and found a man who had been a teenager then and remembered where the marines were buried. A C130 a/c was sent with an honor guard and found all 19 marines had been buried with their helmets on, their rifles in their hands, in perfect condition. The islanders had really done a wonderful job burying the fallen marines.

As they were loading the bodies, a voice from out of nowhere started singing…”The Marine hymn”…giving everyone the goose bumps!

Turns out, the voice was from a man who spoke no English but remembered a song the Marines taught him when they landed, when he was just a boy.

Please go to:

and appreciate


Tinian Island

To overcome the immense distances of the Pacific Ocean and Japanese island occupation strategy intended to threaten the United States to sue for peace, the U.S. Navy devised a strategy called island hopping. It called for the armed forces to take successively closer island strongholds to the Japanese mainland while leaving some in place to starve.

From May 27 to June 20, 1944, the U.S. Army and Navy decisively eliminated the Japanese Army and Navy forces immediately northwest of New Guinea in the Battle of Biak after a long bloody campaign. The Japanese there maintained an airfield that could be improved by the Americans to use in the air war; also, Japanese presence there was perceived as a potential threat to the Australian mainland.

The U.S. victory in the Battle of Saipan from June 15 to July 9, 1944 made Tinian, 5.6 kilometres (3.5 mi) south of Saipan, the next logical step in the Marianas campaign which would lead to retaking the Philippines and ultimately the defeat of Japan. The Japanese defending the island were commanded by Colonel Kiyochi Ogata and his subordinate Goichi Ova. Vice-Admiral Kakaji Kakuta, commander of First Air Fleet, was headquartered on Tinian.

The 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions landed on 24 July 1944, supported by naval bombardment and artillery firing across the strait from Saipan. A successful feint for the major settlement of Tinian Town diverted defenders from the actual landing site on the north of the island. The battleship USS Colorado and the destroyer USS Norman Scott were both hit by six inch Japanese shore batteries. The Colorado was hit 22 times, killing 44 men. The Norman Scott was hit six times, killing the captain, Seymore Owens, and 22 of his seamen. The Japanese adopted the same stubborn resistance as on Saipan, retreating during the day and attacking at night. The gentler terrain of Tinian allowed the attackers more effective use of tanks and artillery than in the mountains of Saipan, and the island was secured in nine days of fighting. On July 31, the surviving Japanese launched a suicide charge.

The battle saw the first use of napalm in the Pacific. Of the 120 jettisonable tanks dropped during the operation, 25 contained the napalm mixture and the remainder an oil-gasoline mixture. Of the entire number, only 14 were duds, and eight of these were set afire by subsequent strafing runs. Carried by F4U Corsairs, the “fire bombs”, also known as napalm bombs, burned away foliage concealing enemy installations.


Japanese losses were far greater than American losses. The Japanese lost 8,010 dead. Only 313 Japanese were taken prisoner. American losses stood at 328 and 1,571 wounded. Several hundred Japanese troop held out in the jungles for months. The garrison on Aguijan Island off the southwest cape of Tinian, commanded by Lt Kinichi Yamada, held out until the end of the war, surrendering on 4 September 1945. The last holdout on Tinian, Murat Susumu, was not captureed until 1953.

After the battle, Tinian became an important base for further Allied operations in the Pacific Campaign. Camps were built for 50,000 troops. Fifteen thousand Seabees turned the island into the busiest airfield of the war, with six 2,400 m runways for attacks by B-29 Superfortress bombers on targets in the Philippines, the Ruukyr Islands and mainland Japan, including the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

President Roosevelt’s Address

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamythe United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval air air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of States a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or int of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

  • Yesterday, the Japanese Government also launched an attack on Malaya.
  • Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
  • Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
  • Last night Japanese Forces attacked the Pilippine Islands.
  • Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
  • This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that his form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory,and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”

Let Us Not Forget Those Who Have Gone Before Us

Key Vessels attacked at Pearl Harbor

Key Vessels in the Attack:

  • USS ARIZONA took eight aerial bomb hits. The battleship went down and remains below. Of her complement, 1,177 officers and men were killed.
  • USS CALIFORNIA was struck by two torpedoes and one bomb…listed, flooded and sank into the muddy bottom.
  • USS MARYLAND, though it by two bombs, sustained the least damage of any of the battleships in the Harbor, due to her protected position inboard of USS OKLAHOMA.
  • USS OKLAHOMA took 5 to 7 torpedo hits in rapid succession and went down, losing nearly a third of her crew of 1,354. Thirty-two men, trapped inside, were saved by civilian workers who cut through the upturned bottom.
  • USS NEVADA was the only battleship to get underway during the attack. Her commanding officer was ordered to deliberately run aground to avoid the risk of sinking and blocking the channel.
  • USS PENNSYLVANIA was in drydock No. 1 on December 7 and escaped serious damage.
  • USS TENNESSEE was inboard of USS WEST VIRGINIA. She sustained minor damage and was able to man her guns.
  • USS WEST VIRGINIA took the brunt of the attack. The ship was aflame and she sank. Her captain died in the action.
  • USS RALEIGH was badly damaged but somehow remained afloat with her guns in action. Amazingly not a single man aboard was killed.
  • USS DETROIT, USS ST. LOUIS and USS PHOENIX were not damaged and joined a dozen destroyers and other ships in a hunt for the Japanese.
  • USS HELENA and the mine sweeper, USS OGLALA were moored where USS PENNSYLVANIA which was in drydock, normally berthed and so were prime targets of dive bombers and torpedo planes and sustained severe damage.

Of the other cruisers, USS SAN FRANCISCO, USS HONOLULU, and USS NEWORLEANS were in repair yards at the time of attack and suffered less damage than other ships.

There were 47 destroyers in Hawaiian waters that Sunday morning. Two, USS DOWNES and USS CASSIN, which were in the drydock, were severely damaged.

The USS SHAW was in a floating dry dock when she was hit. Her magazine blew up in a spectacular explosion and sank the floating drydock.

Many support vessels were in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack. Some of them, like the repair ship USS VESTAL and the seaplane tender USS CURTISS were badly damages.

The status of the hospital ship USS SOLACE was evident as she was painted white with prominent red crosses on the sides and topside and she was not bombed. Since medical supplies and facilities were stretched to the limit, the equipment and personnel of the USS SOLACE were desperately needed.

The USS UTAH had been converted to a mobile target/training vessel and went down taking 54 men with her.

Let Us Not Forget Those Who Have Gone Before Us

“Day of Infamy”

In the early hours of Sunday, December 7, Japanese submarines of an advance expeditionary force launched five midget subs they had piggy-backed from Japan. Each two man 80 ft sub was armed with two torpedoes and an explosive charge in the bow for suicidal ramming. All five subs and all of their crews, except one man were lost. One was lost at sea; one was sunk outside the Harbor by the USS Ward; one entered Pearl Harbor through an open submarine net and was sunk when it was rammed by USS Monaghan. The fourth could not steer properly and beached on the windward side of Oahu, its surviving crew member becoming the first Japanese prisoner of war. It is unknown what happened to the fifth submarine, but it is believed to have been sunk during the raid.

0342 – USS Condor, on routine mine-sweeping patrol, spots the periscope of one of the midget subs in restricted waters off the entrance to the Harbor. USS Condor‘s skipper thinks the sub is probably one of ours that strayed into a restricted area by mistake. Nevertheless, since he has no guns or depth charges himself, he sends a message to the captain of the destroyer USS Ward on patrol nearby.

0500 – Two reconnaissance planes take off to scout Pearl Harbor and Lahaina Roads, Maui.

0600 – The first wave of 183 planes is launched.

0630 – USS Ward observes a submarine trailing the supply ship USS Antares into the Harbor and sinks her. The commanding officer sends a message informing the fleet commander.

0706 – Two army privates, manning a mobile radar station in the hills above Opana Point, contact a lone a/c but are not alarmed. However, soon afterward they receive signals of many more approaching planes so they report to the officer at Ft. Shafter who decides it is a formation of Army B-17s expected in Hawaii that day or a/c from the USS Enterprise and tells the soldiers not to worry about it.

0748 – The first Japanese bombs land at Kaneohe Naval Air Station.

0755 – Hicham Air Field and Wheeler Air Field are hit simultaneously.

0757 – The cruiser USS Raleigh is the first ship in Pearl Harbor to be hit, taking a torpedo in her port side. Within seconds, USS Utah takes two direct hits and USS Helena is hit by a torpedo directly amidship. Her clock stops at 0757.

0800 – As the band plays the national anthem and the flag is being raised, the decks of the USS Nevada are strafed by attacking planes. Not one member of the band or the Marine Corps color guard is hit, but the flag is in shreds.

0805 – Bombs begin falling in Honolulu. Roads leading to Pearl Harbor are strafed and three civilian employees on their way to work are killed. On a local radio station, announcer Webley Edwards repeats over and over, “This is not a maneuver…this is the real McCoy!” At Hickam Field, three civilian firemen are killed and elsewhere city and plantation firemen are frantically battling blazing fires.

Later assessments show that shells fell in 40 locations in the city; 68 civilians were killed, others were seriously wounded or hurt by the explosions, fores and falling debris.

0850 – The second wave of 167 planes reaches Pearl Harbor and is met by a concentrated screen of antiaircraft fire from Americans finally able to mobilize and attempt retaliation.

After 0800 – The 12 B-17 bombers expected earlier at Hickam Field arrive to a scene of of chaos and confusion, and an angry swarm of Japanese Zeros. The American planes had been disarmed to lighten the load and so have no means of defending themselves. However, though under ferocious attack, all manage to land safely.

Soon after – 18 dive bombers from the carrier USS Enterprise arrive and are greeted with hostile fire from both Japanese and nervous Americans. Thirteen of the USS Enterprise planes finally land at Ford Island and Ewa, but only nine of them are undamaged. The survivors are refueled and take off at 1210 to join a vain hunt for the enemy force.

Between 0800 & 1100 – At Hickam and Wheeler Fields, a/c conveniently grouped together on the runways, are devastated by enemy bombs and strafing. On the windward side of the island at Kaneohe, seaplanes on the ground are smashed and burned and personnel slaughtered in deadly strafing. Of an estimated 394 planes at Oahu air fields that morning, only 11 fighters become airborne.

At Pearl Harbor, the devastation continues. The waters around Ford Island are covered with a violently flaming oil slick engulfing the wounded men trying desperately to reach safety. Heroic acts are common place as small boats brave the burning sea to rescue the dying.

1000 – The last planes of the 2nd wave depart to return to the Japanese carriers which have now edged 40 miles closer to the scene of battle.

1300 – All but 29 planes are safe aboard the Japanese carriers. Japanese pilots and personnel aboard the ships in the armada are ecstatic. They can not believe the completeness of the surprise, their incredibly low casualty rate, and the absence of any effective resistance. They are sure they have dealt a death blow to the American military structure. The Japanese commander of the air attack urgently recommends that the planes be refueled and allowed to return and attack again, but Fleet Commander Nuaumo refuses.

1330 – The Japanese task force turns and heads for home.

Let Us Not Forget Those Who Have Gone Before Us

Touched…by a Blue Angel

     Each one of us – from the youngest aircrewman to the squadron skipper, from the newly winged ensign or second lieutenant to the Chief of Naval Operations – can recall that time when we pondered a future in Naval Aviation and decide: “That’s for me!”

For many of us, the seed of that idea was planted in our minds by an angel…a Blue Angel to be precise. And it was the precision in every aspect of the performance, from the pilots marching to their waiting aircraft to the carrier”break” prior to landing that caught our imaginations and fueled our desires to be a part of it all.

Still today, there are thousands of youngsters young Americans – past and present – who, after seeing firsthand the awesome teamwork that is the lifeblood of Naval Aviation, decided that they just might find a place for themselves on the Navy-Marine Corps team. And it’s those youngsters who are the real story of the Blue Angels.

Numerous books and articles focus on the aircraft and their crews, but the mission of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron can be summed up in one word: recruiting.

It all started after WWII when Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Chester W. Nimitz observed that the newly emerging U.S. Air Force, with its bases scattered throughout the country, was luring young Americans into the same high-flying careers that were also available in the U.S. Navy.

Hampered by the fact that our “air-fields” were at sea, our bases were on the coastlines and that most Americans knew about the Navy only from newsreel footage, the CNO directed that “a flight exhibition team be organized within the Naval Air Advance Training Command to represent the Navy at air shows and similar events.” Lieutenant Commander Roy M. “Butch” Voris, ace and combat aviator in the Pacific campaign, was selected to organize and lead the U.S. Navy Flight Exhibition Team. Voris knew that the team had to be the best, they ad to be the best while being safe, and he was determined to achieve both.

If a certain senior officer had had his way, the team would have been called the Blue Lancers, but none of the pilots liked that name. Paging through the New Yorker magazine while on the road with the show, number 2 pilot Lieutenant Wick Wickendoll spotted an article about one of the city’s hottest nightclubs, the Blue Angel Cafe, and said: “Boss, this is it!” The team promptly leaked the name to reporters who put it in bold headlines, calling them THE BLUE ANGELS. Thus, 67 years ago, a legend was born.

Today, the Blues are the premier “power tool” in the Navy Recruiting Command’s workshop. All of the team members represent us as recruiters, goodwill ambassadors, dream fulfillers for young children through the Make a Wish Foundation, volunteers for countless worthy causes and, most importantly, living examples of the Navy adventure to the folks in our hometowns throughout America.

On their 50th anniversary in 1996 the Blue Angels were saluted by the media as the Navy-Marine Corps team who represent the best of what each of us strives to be: dedicated, talented team players.

Bravo Zulu and congratulations – again – to the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, as we look forward to many more years of world-class professional excellence!

Article by: RAdm. Dennis V. McGinn, Director, Air Warfare – posted in the Flightline magazine  Nov-Dec addition 1996

Pearl Harbor Eternally

Go to:

Let Us Never Forget Those Who Have Gone Before Us

Last Bomb Runs Over Japan


No matter what war footage you ever saw before, this is the real deal and will keep your undivided attention. The strafing runs by the P-51 pilots were incredible…and please note…There are several breaks as the film canisters are changed, so just wait for the count down.

Go to:

(View Full Screen/Sound On)

Entire film lasts 36 min 8.5 sec

We ALL should Never Forget Those Who Have Gone Before Us

Website courtesy of FCM Fred Woods

1967 Intrepid ‘Trap Record’

I was a rather naive 20 year old (I turned 20 the day I arrived) when I went to boot camp and pretty much took everything they told me seriously and to heart.  It was drilled onto us that “loose lips sink ships” and we were never to tell anyone where we were or what we were doing.  This included writing home, and keeping diaries or journals being a big no-no.  So the event I am about to relate is lacking detail for dates or specific numbers…This is how I remember it:

We were on our second scenic cruise of the tropical Gulf of Tonkin in 1967.  Working in V-3 Division, pushing planes and brooms, kept everyone on the hangar deck busy. Sometime during the cruise I was trained to operate the center-line aircraft elevator located forward also known as Elevator #1 or El-1.

During launches, El-1 was secured and locked in place on the flight deck.  During recoveries, if there was room on the hangar deck, the first planes trapped would be taxied to El-1 and brought down to the hangar before flight deck blue shirts started stacking planes on the bow.  This was the standard operating procedure and happened on most recoveries. And then there was the standard respotting between flight ops.

One warm and muggy morning, we had launched almost every capable bird on the ship, save the angels and “Operation Bear Claw” ready aircraft.  I don’t know what the number of aircraft were given that designation, but it was a very low number.  And, of course the queens were left behind.  Neither do I know how long it took to launch everything but there didn’t seem to be a big rush to get them off the deck.  I do know, from the cruise book, we had (4) A-4 squadrons, (2) A-1 squadrons, (2) F-8 squadrons, plus an E-1 and some UH-1 Angels.  This is 90+ aircraft as the Navy likes to say in ship specifications.

After the launch was complete, the hangar deck crew was assigned the normal “busy” duties.  It would never do to have an NCO or above see a blue shirt idle for more than five minutes.  We all had a trusty broom or rag and Brasso in hand and either pushing dust and salt around or polishing everything made of brass.  And there was a lot of brass.

After the deck was swept a couple of times, word came down that the squadrons were returning all together and some of the planes were pretty low on fuel.  We had to do some major shuffling to get ready for them.  Everything on the hangar deck was moved as far back into Bay 3 as possible.  What was left on the hangar deck did not fill Bay 3.  I was told to man my elevator all three hangar deck blue shirt crews were told to stand by in Bay 1.

aircraft trap‘Trapped’ Aircraft

 As the first recovered aircraft was released from the wire, it was directed ‘hot’ to El-1. Once on, Fly-1 raised the flight deck stanchions and gave the all clear through our sound powered phones for me to drop the elevator.  With the elevator at hangar level, Crew 10 climbed on and started pushing the plane to Bay 3.  As soon as they cleared the elevator, it was on its way up for the next bird.  Before Crew 10 had gotten the first one to Bay 3 and tied down, Crew 11 was climbing on the elevator to push the second one off.  Crew 10 was on their way back when Crew 12 was pushing the third one off.  Until we were about mid fill in Bay 2, as soon as each crew had the current plane tied down, they were at a dead run to return to El-1 for the next one.  This continued until the entire hangar deck was completely filled.  A lot of hustling…I mean a lot of hustling.  The flight deck blue shirts took over from there and stacked the bow.

Once we secured from flight ops, the 1MC came alive with the bos’n’s pipe and a “Now hear this!”.  The skipper (I don’t recall if it was still Captain Fair or Captain McVey who took command in June) came over the speakers and congratulated us for a job well done and I have a vague recollection of him saying he was proud to be commanding such a fine crew. We had broken a service wide record.  He went on to tell us how many aircraft we had ‘trapped‘ in whatever the time frame was.  No other carrier in the past had accomplished such a feat.  But keeping with my training, I did not write down the specifics.  Perhaps someone out there who was on that cruise has a better memory than I or maybe kept a journal (as I am now aware that others did) and can fill in the blanks.

FCM Fred Woods, AN, AMS striker, at the time of the event, CVS/A 11.