Dr. Seuss and the PC 552

Many people feel they know Dr. Seuss because of his children’s books; they don’t. In his early years he was a rabid socialist and actively promoted that agenda. He wSeuss Smallas a political cartoonist.

As the atrocities became known in China from the Empire of Japan, Dr. Seuss began a series of cartoons hostile to the Japanese. Viewed from today’s lens, many have commented that his cartoons were racist. I think a better description would be anti-atrocity. The Empire of Japan was brutal and savaged China, which is why the United States was against them in the first place. Soldiers of the Empire engaged in contests in which they would see who could chop off the most heads or rape the most women. There are photos of them bayoneting babies.

Dr. Seuss was strongly in favor of helping the Allies in Europe against the Nazis and encouraged supplying them munitions. Whether he knew specifically about the PC 552 we don’t know, but we do know he strongly supported the cause.

This week in 1943, we leave the crew chuckling about Dr. Seuss.

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Nick Stine Goes to War

15 March 2017Nick and Pat Stine

Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship, a Son’s Curiosity” coming out 2017  

This week in 1943, the PC 552 was moored at Key West, Florida. What did you do this week?

Roland “Nick” Stine was one of the first sailors to board the USS PC 552 on 30 July 1942. He was trained as a radioman and as such, was a popular person. The radioman aboard a ship was assumed to be first in line to know everything so he was constantly approached about the latest scuttlebutt. He also occasionally manned the 20 mm gun and listened for submarines with the sonar.

Nick battled U-boats in the Atlantic, then crossed the Atlantic and wound up at the Battle of Normandy on D-day. He came home to marry Pat two years after D-day and went on to create a successful wildcat oil business. 

“Stine … says war was a “lousy” time and it’s “not something (he) wears well.”

This week in 1944, we leave the crew approaching D-day.

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Forgotten Deaths

 

08 MarForgotten Deathsch 2017

 

Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship, a Son’s Curiosity” coming out 2017 

 

This week in 1944, two men were wounded, one mortally, during exercises on English beaches. What did you do this week?

Once in England, after a brief rest, the PC 552 participated in rigorous training in preparation for D-day. It was involved in numerous screening and landing exercises and the crew knew what was coming next.

Unfortunately, during one of these exercises on 11 March 1944, two men were seriously wounded, one mortally, by stray shrapnel:  Sgt. Poriotos (hit in the left arm) and PFC McGirts (hit in the back, later died). Both were of the 16th Infantry. These men were wounded on a far foreign cold and windy beach, far from family and were noted in the records of the PC 552. If we google them, we will find no mention of them now, other than from this book. They are now a part of distant history, dimly remembered. Please give a thought to them now.   

This week in 1944, we leave the crew contemplating what is coming next.

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Signal Flags

signal-flags

01 March 2017

Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship, a Son’s Curiosity” coming out 2017 

This week in 1944 the PC 552 was engaged in routine convoy protection. What did you do this week?

Each American Navy vessel had its own designated signal flags which identified it. Another ship could identify the USS PC 552 by comparing the flags flying at the mast to a code book. This system goes back centuries.

In this case, using the signals of World War II, the flags say “Nan, Baker, Uncle, Yoke”. They mean nothing other than this order was unique to PC 552. In fact, “Checkpoint Charlie” at the Berlin Wall was really the checkpoint designated “C”. Those of us who have served later are familiar with what is often called the NATO alphabet: “November, Bravo, Uniform, Yankee”, supposedly nation-neutral.

The ship also was assigned radio calls from time to time. A couple of them were “Cherry552” and “Rustbucket552”, probably out of respect.

This week in 1944, we leave the crew escorting routine convoys around England.

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