66 Years Ago Today: The Battle Off Samar

October 25th, 2010 by xformed

The anniversary of one of the most significant battles in US Naval history took place on Oct 25th, 1944, near the island of Leyte in the Philippines.

Monument to Taffy 3, lead by RADM Sprague, USN (click to enlarge)

The story of Taffy 3 at the Battle Off Samar has been the subject of many books, one that I particularly enjoyed was the “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors” by James Hornfischer.  Beyond the strategic and tactical discussions, it was filled with interviews of the men who survived, making it a very personal look at such a battle.  I have found this more than interesting, as my computer instructor was CAPT Amos T Hathaway, USN, and I served on the USS CARR (FFG-52), which was named after GM2 Paul Henry Carr, the MT 52 Gun Captain.  It was also the day an American Indian, CDR Ernest Evans, CO of USS JOHNSTON (DD_557), earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.

While I enjoy the history of “Black Shoes” fighting to the end in a war that became dominated by carrier warfare between opposing naval units, the aviators of Taffy 3 displayed the same courage, attacking Japanese battleships, and cruisers with the .50 and .30 caliber machine guns and in many cases, empty bomb and torpedo racks. They did so to add to the confusion of the Japanese crews, to help keep any effective volumes of fire from being focused on but a few targets.

In 2004, I did an extensive post on the battle.  You can read it here.  It was the final battle between surface combatants, and the story of desperate times, which crew rose to the challenge.

Category: Geo-Political, History, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy | Comments Off on 66 Years Ago Today: The Battle Off Samar

A Day That Changed the Course of History

June 6th, 2009 by xformed

June 6th, 1944.

Young men did what was asked of them.

The odds were against them.

The enemy prepared for this event, and even if the moment caught them off guard, they responded with the viciousness of combatants under siege.

What lives were ended, what future family lines were extinguished that day, specifically that day?

Of those who have come home to tell the stories, they are now leaving us.

When their voices are silenced in death, only the historians remain to craft the stories untold.

I was very fortunate to have met and become a friend of Jim, Sr.  He was the one person in my life, who had actually been across the beaches, albeit in the air, but without the benefit of a throttle of his own.  He had lift and gravity to work to succeed.  At his funeral, I found out his unit suffered an 87% casualty rate.  Over all, I knew the WWII glider pilots had a 60% death rate.  His unit, the 442nd Troop Carrying Group, took more than the “average” share of loss.

Jim Helinger Flying

He departed this world peacefully 5/4/2009 Oliver & Company Merlin and the War of the Dragons trailer Dark Honeymoon

Garden State movie download , but not before he had shared some of his experiences that day.

Please take time to capture any memories of these men, who most often do not consider themselves barve, but ones who just followed their orders…to the end.  The Library of Congress has a Veteran’s History Project Hard Ball dvd .  Please help get the stories and pictures to this set of archives, so future generations of historians can tell of the bravery at a place called Normandy on the maps.

Category: Navy | Comments Off on A Day That Changed the Course of History

Conviction, Courage and Devotion – 64 Years Ago

May 5th, 2009 by xformed

On this day in 1945, on the island of Okinawa, a young man saved his comrades o nthe battle frield…and had never carried a weapon.

Details here buy Alice in Wonderland : Cpl Desmond T. Doss, USA, CMOH Awardee, one of my personal heroes.

Quite a man, quite a story. His personal believe drove him and carried him through his life.Bone Trouble hd

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Category: Army | Comments Off on Conviction, Courage and Devotion – 64 Years Ago

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