New Guns and Plenty of Ammunition

23 August 2017

“Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity”

During this week in 1943, the PC 552 received “new guns and plenty of ammunition” at Tompkinsville, NY. What did you do this week?

John Churchill was known as “Mad Jack” for a good reason: people thought he was nuts. He was renowned in the British Army for being the only soldier allowed to carry a longbow and basket-hilted Scottish broadsword (no officer was properly dressed without a sword, in his opinion). He’s thought to have achieved the only longbow kill of the war, shooting down a German scout in France.

He led commando raids in Norway and Yugoslavia (while playing the bagpipes, of course), survived being shot in the neck, captured or killed dozens of enemy soldiers and wreaked havoc before being captured. Mad Jack escaped, was captured again, then when the lights at his prison camp went out, he walked out of the camp (which was still being guarded) and walked 90 miles to find an American unit. After VE-Day, he fought in Burma, and when the war ended, he became a surfer. Source: Rothschild, Mike, “27 Unsung WWII Heroes You May Not Know About”.

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Bravado at the Battle of the Bulge

16 August 2017

“Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity”

During this week in 1942, the PC 552 went on its shakedown cruise. What did you do this week?

The Battle of the Bulge was Nazi Germany’s last ditch effort to stop the western Allies. In December of 1944, the Germans launched a surprise attack which quickly formed a bulge in the lines. The Allies eventually recovered in what was later called the Battle of the Bulge.

God loves an Infantry soldier! The story is told of the tank destroyer which was retreating and the commander asked PFC Vernon Haught where to go. PFC Haught asked if the tank destroyer was looking for a safe place to go at which the reply was an affirmative.

PFC Haught directed the tank to park right behind his fighting position because, as he said, “I’m the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the bastards are going.”

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You may contact me directly at: uss.pc.552@gmail.com

The Frightening New Weapon

09 August 2017

“Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity”

During this week in 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What did you do this week?

The painting shown is a famous one about what was then called “the thousand yard stare”. It is the blank, unfocused gaze of someone who has seen too much. This was not limited to World War II but it has been called different things in different ages. It was a symptom of what was called “soldiers heart” after the Civil War, “shell shock” in World War I, and “battle fatigue” in World War II. Now we call it PTSD. Think of what these men experienced, then think also of what their families experienced. The cost was huge.

Wars are nasty for everybody and rational people want them stopped by any means necessary. In some circles, it has become fashionable to claim the atom bombs were some sort of atrocity. The men of the PC 552 who were spared the war in the Pacific did not think so. Neither did their families, neither did the millions of Chinese spared additional atrocities, nor the millions of Japanese civilians spared surviving (or not) in a war zone.

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You may contact me directly at: uss.pc.552@gmail.com

Overhaul

02 August 2017

“Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity”

During this week in 1945, the PC 552 was getting a complete overhaul before moving on to the Pacific war. What did you do this week?

The PC 552 spent this month at the Charleston Navy Base getting a complete overhaul before moving on to give hell to the Japanese. Now that the war in Europe was over, the United States was anxious to keep relentless pressure on the Japanese so no money was spared to get the ship ready for the coming onslaught.Those of us who have come home from serving overseas know the feeling this statue invokes. The sailor is desperately hugging his beautiful wife and never wants to let her go. She is returning the feelings. The son is trying to get in on the action but parents who love their children, love and are loving to the children’s other parent first.

Those of us who have come home from serving overseas know the feeling this statue invokes. The sailor is desperately hugging his beautiful wife and never wants to let her go. She is returning the feelings. The son is trying to get in on the action but parents who love their children, love and are loving to the children’s other parent first.

At this moment, these people are fully expecting to soon see the sailor off to fight a whole other war after passing through the Panama Canal on his way to the Pacific.

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You may contact me directly at: uss.pc.552@gmail.com

Back at it Again

26 July 2017

“Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity”

During this week in 1944, the PC 552 returned to active duty at Cherbourg after repairs at Dartmouth. What did you do this week?

The Germans knew the Allies would need a major port in France from which to get supplies to invade Germany. Accordingly, they centered their defenses around major ports. The Allies overcame this by launching D-day on less occupied beaches, bringing portable “ports” called mulberries.

By June 29, 1944, American forces from Utah Beach, accompanied by British forces, had fought their way to Cherbourg and taken over the city. Thus, the Allies now had a major French port from which to launch their attack into the heartland of Germany.

20 days after Cherbourg’s fall, the PC 552 was based in Cherbourg, fully recuperated after D–day and ready for more. The Allies wasted no time.

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Standing Down From D-day

19 July 2017

“Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity”

During this week in 1944, the PC 552 went into dry dock at Dartmouth for repairs after D-day. What did you do this week?

Dartmouth, England was a major navy base during World War II. The PC 552’s berth prior to D-day was mostly at Dartmouth. After D-day, its berth was at Cherbourg, France but Dartmouth was still the place to go for repairs. During the stay at Dartmouth this week, the ship’s gunnery officer went to the hospital for reasons not known and was replaced by another officer.

Dartmouth is home to the British naval academy and is steeped history. We can just imagine our fighting men taking in the sights while waiting for the repairs. The quote above is from Francis Drake which is packed with practical, passionate naval advice and who is important around Dartmouth.

Drake left a snare drum on his death bed and he bequeathed that it be taken back to England.  Whenever England was in danger, the drum was to be beaten and Drake would come to save the day again. The last time anyone has heard the drum beaten was at Dunkirk when British citizens from all walks of life sailed to evacuate the British Tommies from France. The Tommies came back with the PC 552.

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 You may contact me directly at: uss.pc.552@gmail.com

Gearing Up for the Next War

12 July 2017

“Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity”

During this week in 1945, the PC 552 docked at the Charleston, SC navy station to begin its complete overhaul before going to fight the Empire of Japan.  What did you do this week?

In 1942, the PC 552 was immediately launched into a vicious war with a relentless enemy and fought all the way to victory in Europe. It finally made it back home from that war and deserved a long rest. However, the ship and the crew prepared to do it all again against the Empire of Japan.

As far as most people knew, the war against Japan was going to very long and bloody. The saying going around was “the Golden Gate in ‘48” meaning the Americans would have finished with the war in the Pacific and on their way back home in 1948. Few people knew about the atomic bombs.

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 You may contact me directly at: uss.pc.552@gmail.com

Holding Their Breathe for the War in the Pacific

05 July 2017

“Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity”

This week in 1945, the PC 552 had come home from Europe and was getting ready to join the war in the Pacific.  What did you do this week?

Germany surrendered 08 August 1945. The PC 552 left the European theater one year to the day after D-day after saluting Omaha and Utah Beaches. It was in transit to the States to be overhauled in preparation for the Empire of Japan when it was officially transferred to the Pacific fleet on 20 June 1945. It docked at Key West, FL on 22 June 1944.  Most people expected the war to continue into 1948 because no one knew about the atomic bomb.

For the following sailor, we do not have the official date he reported aboard the ship:

Last Name First Name Serial Number
Joyce Kenneth William 202 89 68

This information can be found at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), I Archives Drive, St. Louis, Missouri, 63138. If you visit this facility, you may request this information. Please make sure to note this is for nonprofit historical research. Please help these sailors be remembered.

We need the date this man reported aboard the ship.

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Thomas M. Stamm

28 June 2017

“Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity”

On this day in 1944, the PC 552 recovered the body of Thomas M. Stamm, US Navy and proceeded to Easy White Beach for burial. What did you do this week?

The deck log entries often include these one liners which report the basic facts. Yet, we know there is much more to this story. Here is a body found floating around the English Channel 22 days after D-day. All sorts of grisly scenarios may be imagined but we know nothing more. Somewhere, there was a family who grieved his loss.

We don’t have the date these sailors reported on board, nor the date they were transferred:

Sullivan Lawrence Ferrel 342 11 28
Thomas Gerald LeRoy 316 77 86

This information can be found at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), I Archives Drive, St. Louis, Missouri, 63138. If you visit this facility, you may request this information. Please make sure to note this is for nonprofit historical research. Please help these sailors be remembered.

We need the dates these men reported on board and were transferred from the ship.

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You may contact me directly at: uss.pc.552@gmail.com

 

The Great Gale of 1944

21 June 2017

“Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity”

This week in 1944, the PC 552 lost an anchor in the Great Gale of 1944 at Normandy. The ship was forced to run before the gale to survive. Ships were tossed around like matchsticks. What did you do this week?

The Germans knew the Allies required a major port so they placed their defenses around the ports. The Allies circumvented this by bringing Mulberries, portable ports. The Great Gale destroyed one Mulberry.

The navy quit listing the date and place of enlistment on the ship’s roster at some point. Because of this change, we lack this information for the following sailors who joined the ship in 1945:

Last Name First Name Serial Number
Blankenship Vernon (n) 9358706
Dolan John Joseph 8087644
Huling Paul T. 2762851
Kielty James Harold 2240816
Lindsay Richard (n) 2247365
Hicks Hinson Richard 8312119

This information can be found at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), I Archives Drive, St. Louis, Missouri, 63138. If you visit this facility, you may request this information. Please make sure to note this is for nonprofit historical research. Please help these sailors be remembered.

We need the date and place of enlistment for these men.

Please review the book at:

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You may contact me directly at: uss.pc.552@gmail.com