Archive for the 'Military History' Category

From the Desk of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 6

November 9th, 2015 by xformed

Col Dodenhoff – Total Flight Hours 1943 Page – 19431226-450w.png

Subtitle: Flying the SNV-1, or “the Vultee Vibrator” (the assigned name “Valiant”)

As noted on the Wikipedia page linked above, the initial designation of this aircraft was the BT-13, and the SNV-1 was a batch of 1350 planes transferred to the US Navy. This airplane was the most produced primary fight trainer of all types in the WWII era.

I missed this new aircraft type in the Col’s logbook, until one of our breakfast crew, who had flow it himself in the early post-war time frame, exclaimed “Oh, he flew the Vibrator!” while looking at the logbooks.

Many years ago, I first was introduced to the Vultee Vibrator when Jim Helinger, Sr, walked up to one at Sun n’ Fun, placed his hand on the fuselage and said “We called this the Vibrator!”

Here is the December 1943 logbook entries noting Col Dode took his first fights in his second aircraft type, which was the normal progression for both Navy/Marine Corps and Army Air Corps trainees.

Click for a larger image

Jim, Sr did note this aircraft was the secondary trainer for those cadets marked for the fighter pilot assignments. I don’t recall the airframe that future bomber pilots would be next trained in.

Here’s some historical video, albeit from the Army Air Corps viewpoint, I’m reasonably certain the fight training in this aircarft would have been very similar in all services.

Bonus material: The BT-13 History Site.

Category: Aviation, Col Dodenhoff, History, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy | Comments Off on From the Desk of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 6

From the Desk of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 5

October 16th, 2015 by xformed

Col Dodenhoff – Total Flight Hours 1943 Page – 19431226-450w.png

Subtitle: Still in training in Dec 43

Col Dodenhoff had done plenty of flying in September and October of 43, but only had one flight in November, at Naval Air Station, Pasco, Washington, closeing out the year with 3 flights at Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi.

Click for a larger image

Just preceeding this time frame, the Marine Corps had just wrapped up the assault on Tarawa, one of the major battles of the Pacific, that defined the future of amphibious landing tactics and equipment.

Dode now has a total of 139.6 hours in the air, across 100 flights. Of that time, now 82.4 hours have been as a solo pilot, still in the standard basic primary trainer, the N2S-3.

Category: Col Dodenhoff, History, Marines, Military, Military History | Comments Off on From the Desk of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 5

Oct 2, 1992: (Very) Shortly After Midnight – USS SARATOGA – Part VIII

October 2nd, 2015 by xformed

This is the video of the talk given at Tactical Training Croup, Atlantic about April 1993, after having conducted certification of most all of the Atlantic Fleet NSSMS units. LCDR Don Diehl had sat through the Court of Inquiry, having been sent TAD from the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON as COMNAVAIRLANT’s subject matter expert on Combat Direction Center (CDC) Operations. Rather conducting a oral board on the operators on the ships, Don basically told the story of what happened, interspersed with questions of the people who manned the various stations to check their knowledge. In this manner, he helped convey the circumstances, so the other crews could learn from the mistakes. Don has since passed away, but he was a great inspector and instructor for the team across the several months we spent traveling the world together.



Category: History, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy | Comments Off on Oct 2, 1992: (Very) Shortly After Midnight – USS SARATOGA – Part VIII

From the Desk of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 3

September 30th, 2015 by xformed


Subtitle: First Flight

On September 10th, 1943, Dode made his first recorded flight. He would have been sitting in the forward seat, with Lt Doran (service unidentified – it could have been wither a Marine, or, maybe more likely due to the missing “2” or “1,” may well have been a Naval aviator) in the rear seat as his instructor pilot.

Flying 1.5 hours, he began his career as a Marine Aviator. Without comment in the notes section, it must have been a routine flight.

Based on the equipment issued page (the one preceding this page), I’m going to presume the flight occurred at Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, TX.

Click for a larger image

His aircraft logged was the ubiquitous N2S, the legendary primary trainer in WWII, but better known to many as the Stearman PT-17, Bureau Number (or “BuNo” in official abbreviation for future reference in this series) 07732. The particular variant, the -3 version, one of 1875 delivered to the US Navy, with the Continental R-670-4 Radial engine.

Click for a larger image

“Boeing Stearman N67193” by Juergen Lehle – Own work (See also AlbSpotter Flugzeugbilder Aircraft Photos). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

The actual manufacturer’s formal designation was the Boeing-Stearman Model 75 The N2S was the Navy designation. for the aircraft. In this regard, he was having the common experience for the aviators of this time. This airframe was used by the US and Canadian forces, with over 10K of them being made between the production in the 30s and 40s. After WWII, they were sold as surplus, helping kickstart the General Aviation market for private pilots. These surplus planes were widely used for crop dusting and airshows for wing walkers.

Some of the type of training for flying Col Dodenhoff would have received would have been like what is contained in this WWII flight training video:

Category: Aviation, Col Dodenhoff, History, Marines, Military, Military History | Comments Off on From the Desk of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 3

From the Desk Of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 1

September 24th, 2015 by xformed

This will be a series, combining hard copy personal historical documents, web based research and finally, the years of story telling I was so blessed to have been the recipient. Col Dodendhoff had had a full career of history making events, seemingly small at the time, and when they happened, seen by him as just another day at “work,” but in retrospect, when the larger record of the surrounding events and circumstances can be linked together, some remarkable stories appear.

First off: The previous post has the memorial service for Col Dodenhoff, where he was honored by his family, friends and neighbors.

For the last few years, when “Dode” couldn’t drive any longer, a few of us took turns being duty driver of the staff car to get him to our bi-monthly Saturday morning breakfast meetings. In the last year, I did it a bit more frequently than the others, and many days, upon return to his residence, I’d spend some time keeping his computer system running smoothly and helping him get the pictures of the association monthly art displays downloaded from his camera to be printed for the historical record of the activities of his building complex.

The book shelf above the computer and monitor held several models, mostly factory type carved wooden ones, which represented a small portion of his flying career. I asked for more detail, and in addition to the trips to and from breakfast, I received even more data points.

His wife, Priscilla, has graciously given me his models, his log books, snap shots taken while on cruise, some military and civilian newspapers and a coveted trophy he won in a bombing competition in 1955.

In a serial manner, I will try to summarize the Col’s 29 years in the service of our nation as a Marine Aviator, pulling together what I can document, find and recall to provide some context of his place in history as a Marine, and as an aviator.

In any case where I place a picture within the post entry so it fits the page restrictions, I will post the full sized version that can be seen via a link with the picture. Logbooks being logbooks, they are hand written, so a good quality picture is the best way to see what it says and OCR is out of the question.

With that intro, look forward to checking back regularly to see the additional posts in the series, and I will publish the recountings in the timeline sequence in which that actually occurred. Please, if you have supporting information, post it in the comments to connect any other dots with documenting!

Click the picture for the full sized image

Click the picture for the full sized image

What’s inside? Return for the full accounting of the real life adventures of Col Dode.

Category: Aviation, Col Dodenhoff, History, Marines, Military, Military History | Comments Off on From the Desk Of Col George Dodenhoff, USMC – Part 1

Fair Winds and Following Seas: COL George Dodenhoff, USMC, Ret

September 18th, 2015 by xformed

20150813_135408

“Dode” was a WWII veteran, joining the Marines in 1942. His first combat was on Okinawa with VMF-311, the Hell’s Belles, flying CAS missions in the F4U-8. Of note, VMF-311 were the first to use the F4U in the close air support role. His career later had him assigned to the famed VMF-214 in Korea, flying CAS for the Chosin Reservoir battle. He continued on to complete a 29 year career, comprised of a cross training assignment with the USAF flying the F-86 and serving in the Congo, Vietnam, and other duties that included a tour at the Naval War College. He passed away August 6th, 2015.

I have been provided access to the items from his desk, where I spent a number of hours, working on his computer and listening to the stories of an old warrior and leader over about a decade. My intention is to put together as much material as is possible from his notes, log books and models and document my recollection of his career oral history I was able to hear.

For the first stop, with his wife, Priscilla’s permission, is to share the memorial service for Col Dodenhoff.

More to follow in a series I’ll post as “From the Desk of Col D.”

Category: History, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History | Comments Off on Fair Winds and Following Seas: COL George Dodenhoff, USMC, Ret

A Date with Destiny – Part IX

April 24th, 2014 by xformed

Since 2009, I’ve had a nagging voice in the back of my head that says “You should try to get recognition for LT Ray Everts. It’s been very insistent and persistent this past week. This year, I’m asking for an effort of the greater group of shipmates, who may be able to find some puzzle pieces. Keep reading, I’ll get to it. First a little background:

I began this story in 2007, 19 years after the fact because I realized it was a story worth telling of the professionalism of my shipmates on USS CARR (FFG-52) and the sailors from USS KENNEDY (CV-67) who saved those men in peril on the sea on April 24th, 1988. I wasn’t there, I reported aboard USS CARR (FFG-52) in late September that year, but in time for the awards to flow in. During that time I heard the first person stories of my crew.

For many years, it was an integral part of the history of the ship, but that ended as a story among a crew March 13, 2013, when the USS CARR (FFG-52) decommissioned. The story is alive around the web. Part of it here. As I sought out first my shipmates via Navy: Together We Served. I later reached out to those who may have been there, by dates listed aboard the USS BONEFISH (SS-582), USS KENNEDY (CV-67) and USS MCCLOY (FF-1038). While got some dry holes, I found LCDR Pete Wilson, USN who provided a detailed, multi-page input. All those stories, from the several sailors and officers who took the time to provide their view of history, added more context to the day.

Again, I began to tell a story of professionalism, but found a story of heroism, one that had not been reported for the record: It came first from a comment left by Jim Chapman in 2007: He had been the aircrewman in the back of Dusty Dog 613 right on top (they had been practicing dipping on BONEFISH when the fire occurred). Jim lives right near by and we met and he told me what was happening in the helo. They knew sailors were in trouble and needed help, and they did more than the helo was supposed to do, nearly resulting in a crash while trying to hoist more men. That takes guts to keep working a few yards off the water in extreme conditions. Thankfully they and the sailors they pulled aboard all are here to tell the story. In the April 2008 annual post, I recorded Jim’s story to share. He added to my view (and if you read his post, you’ll see he was clear about making sure I had the story right). Jim: BTW, I called CAPT Johnson about 2 years ago and pointed out you and your crew knew exactly what you were doing.

On April 15th, 2008, FT2(SS) Bill Baker left a comment on the 2007 post that told a story of heroism beyond even what the helo crew: LT Everts died in his lap, having safely gotten the boat to the surface, ensuring he didn’t add a collision with a surface ship to the already chaotic, deadly situation. He didn’t put on an EAB, as it would have obstructed his use of the periscope during surfacing. I emailed Pete Wilson, the former XO, and he said that was never related at the debriefings. That began the little voice in the back of my head. The April 2009 anniversary post quoted Bill Baker’s comments and put what history of Ray Everts I could track down via the internet.

Here’s my request to my shipmates and family members who may wander by here, it’s also three parts:

  • I’d like to find out how to contact LT Evert’s family. Sounds like he wasn’t married by the many comments, so I’m assuming his parents would have been the NOKs.
  • I want to mount a campaign to complete a virtual 1650 for the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, to acknowledge his selfless sacrifice for his shipmates, the 89 who survived.
  • Help to figure out who to submit this to in DoN, or possibly via the serving Congressional senator or representative.

Who’s in? Spread the word, reach out to commenters on other blogs (that’s another part of the story), let’s see if we can crowd source the answers and move forward to get this medal in the service record of Ray for the ages.

Leave your comments here, so it can be a group effort. eMail is nice, but this space can be the virtual bulletin board to share anything someone knows.

To those who have, here, and on other blogs, added to this entire story, thank you. The connection of the internet has allowed this moment in time to become a fuller story than any one person has, and also has connected a few sailors from that day.

And to those, not on the sub, or the helos, or the whale boat, who scrambled to comfort and care for the sailors of the BONEFISH, your efforts were greatly appreciated (go back and skim the comments that have appeared over the years). BZ.

Category: "Sea Stories", History, Leadership, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy | 3 Comments »

And then there are Shipmates from another hull

February 3rd, 2014 by xformed

Table of contents for A Cruise Book Comes Home

  1. And then there are Shipmates from another hull

I haven’t been popping in here much the last few years. My apologies.

I do have a very new twist on the things that this blog has done for me, and others. It’s been a connecting point and in December, and email arrived in my mailbox to the email address for this blog:

Subj: Cruise Book

I have a USS Milwaukee cruise book from the ’78-’79 cruise. There are some coffee (I’m assuming it’s coffee) stains on some of the pages covering the Ops department, but aside from that it’s in pretty good shape. If you would like to have it, send me your address and I can send it to you. Regards, Mark.

Mark hasn’t a clue mine was left behind in one of those unfortunate relationship breakups several years back, so he thinks it’s a nice gesture, but it’s far more than that, it’s a piece of personal history I never thought I’d see again. I’m exceptionally grateful for this simple gesture that means so much on this end.

I send the address and an offer to pay the postage. He turns me down and sends it compliments of another MSLF “fat ship” guy the same day.

Just short of a week later, it’s here. My time capsule, opened after 34 years. Ah, the memories, but I know most people landing here will fully comprehend what letters on a screen can’t convey.

There will be more on this, but some background:

I was the CDIO (Collateral Duty Intel Officer), which included the Intelligence Photography course. We had a developing lab and the chemicals on the ship, way back aft, starboard side below the main deck somewhere. Some of my OSs allowed me to come and learn how to develop film, and I spent some time there, and I seem to recall, we did our own pictures of the crew for the layout to save costs in production. I probably developed and printed a number of those in the book.

Another collateral duty assigned was as Public Affairs Officer. Yes, you guessed, the publication fell under my responsbilities. It didn’t hurt that I had been on the staff of my Senior Year’s yearbook, doing layout with the then girl friend, Palua, who roped me into such work. I did go willingly, if you have to ask.

I detached from MILWAUKEE very shortly after returning to Norfolk for my training for Pre-Comm LEFTWICH at FCTCL Dam Neck, but had a few weeks off before training began. I checked back aboard AOR-2 to finish the layout of the Cruise Book in that time.

As you see, this was much more than a memento of a cruise, it is evidence of my professional assigned duties as well.

Mark wasn’t a shipmate, but he served aboard USS SYLVANNIA (AFS-2) a few years ealier. I haven’t gotten the details of his procurement of “my” Cruise Book, but it matters not. The cruise of Oct 78-Apr 79 was with the USS SARATOGA (CV-60) BG, and USS SYLVANNIA was one of the units that supported us. While not directly assigned to the BG, the AFS units were on an altered deployment pattern, yet she sailed with us to resupply the BG units on numerous occasions and there are shots of her in the book.

The final background note for today’s post: The coffee stains (not bad ones, but noticeable) were on OC Division: I was COMMO for the cruise.

Category: Blogging, History, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy | Comments Off on And then there are Shipmates from another hull

PTSD Research study conducted by an OIF Vet. Pass the Word!

June 18th, 2013 by xformed

Received via email, from and OIF Vet who is conducting a study on PTSD. PLease give it some consideration to 1) Participating if you fit, and 2) passing the word!

Here’s the DesMoines Register article discussing his background and the project he’s taking on and why: “YP Spotlight: Iraq War vet turned Drake professor explores inconsistency of PTSD”.

Attention Military Veterans: A research study examining military experiences (including deployment experiences) of those who have served (or are currently serving) is being conducted by Dr. Steven L. Lancaster, a professor at Drake University. This online survey assesses experiences with stressful life events (including military events, such as combat exposure), current mental health experiences, coping skills, and thoughts related to these events and how your time in the military has affected you. If you are a military veteran who is 18 years or older, you are eligible to participate.

The survey is completely anonymous and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. As an incentive to participate, all participants will be given the chance to enter a raffle drawing for a $50 online gift certificate to Amazon.com awarded to 6 randomly selected participants. The drawing database is maintained separately from, and is not in any way connected to, survey information submitted; therefore your participation will remain anonymous. If you would like to participate in this research study, please click the link below.

This will take you to a consent form and questionnaire. You will have a chance to enter the raffle after completing the questionnaire.

This research has been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board for protection of human subjects at Drake University.

Please feel free to forward this announcement to eligible friends/colleagues/military members you know who may wish to participate. Thank you in advance for your help with this project. We are going to publish the results in scientific journal with the goal of better understanding the post-deployment experience of military service members.

If you desire to participate please copy and paste this URL into your browser (no http:// is necessary):
bit.ly/TMvKpx

Sincerely,

Steven L. Lancaster, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
Drake University
Phone: 515-271-2844
Email: lancasterlab@drake.edu

Category: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Education, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Science, Supporting the Troops | Comments Off on PTSD Research study conducted by an OIF Vet. Pass the Word!

And Just Where Did the Builder’s Plaques Go?

April 7th, 2013 by xformed

The USS CARR (FFG-53) has been decommissioned 3/13/2013. This story can now be told.

In a time far gone (October 1988 to be more precise), two XOs, at turnover, bought into the idea of the outgoing one: There were but a few of the 50 contract required brass plaques from the builder of the ship left. Wouldn’t it a great idea if two were set aside, passed down the years, in a ritual only known to the Ship’s XOs, to be presented to the final CO and XO?

I thought Tom Brown’s idea was excellent. We picked two of the about 5 left from Todd Shipyard, and we typed up a turnover sheet. The outgoing XO signed and noted the next duty station, and the incoming XO signed to accept the responsibility for the safekeeping of these two mementos for the future.

Over the years, I often thought about emailing the seated XO and asking if they were still “standing the watch” so to speak, but I refrained.

I was unable to attend the final moment of the CARR’s service to the Nation, but I contacted the closet one to what should have been the end game, the decommissioning CO, CDR Patrick Kulakowski. In the first email, I didn’t disclose the exact details, just asked to get ahold of his XO, to check on something that had been put in place years ago.

Here was his response:

We found a Manila folder and note about pass down of two plaques from Todd; however, they are long gone…log ended in 2001…

While the entire plan didn’t survive, the evidence of it did. Not bad to make it hang on for 12-13 years, but…who were the two XOs in question in 2001, or possibly the next turn over?

It may have been an oversight if the ship had a major maintenance period about then, or it might have been someone wanted to have a piece of the Ship’s history for themselves…

Any input appreciated, just for the sake of a good, honest “Sea Story” that really didn’t begin like “Once upon a time…”

Category: "Sea Stories", History, Military, Military History, Navy | Comments Off on And Just Where Did the Builder’s Plaques Go?

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