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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