Holiday Menus through the Years

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Now that we are full of ham, lasagna, fish or whatever your family has as a traditional Christmas meal, lets take a look at how the Navy has celebrated Christmas dinner over the years.

Navy Christmas

from: https://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/heritage/life-aboard/navy-xmas.html?fbclid=IwAR0CJZsIfJepmnSe0pSD1BP5L8znSLeGzMgx9NSd0iOQ_M3c84T0rlT79Cw

Holiday Menus from the Steam Era to the Nuclear Age

Christmas dinner at Naval Air Station (NAS) Anacostia, D.C., 25 December 1918

Christmas dinner at NAS Anacostia, Washington, DC, 25 December 1918 (NH86787)

In the Navy, the period between Christmas and New Year can be a poignant, introspective time, particularly during deployments and operations far from homeport and family. Recognizing this, the service has always strived to emphasize the joyous side of the holidays, not least through dinners that have drawn on everything that storerooms, reefers, and local markets have had to offer. A sampling of command menus from NHHC’s collections from the 1910s through the 1950s, from the mess spaces and wardrooms of the aging coastal monitor to those of the Cold War destroyer, follows.

U.S.S. Monterey, A Merry Christmas 1918.

USS Monterey (Monitor No. 6). In service since 1893, Monterey was serving as a station ship at the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, submarine base in 1918. Her crew was offered a choice of three entrees, including local red snapper.

Commander Yangtze Patrol Force, United States Asiatic Fleet, New Years Day Menu, January 1 1922.

USS Isabel (SP-521). As flagship of the U.S. Navy Yangtze Patrol Force, Isabel’s New Year’s Day menu fittingly included roast Chinese duck.

Photo #: NH 92174  USS San Diego (Armored Cruiser No. 6)

USS San Diego (Armored Cruiser No. 6) off Guaymas, Mexico, 26 December 1915. Note Christmas tree mounted on her forecastle (NH 92174).

Cover - Christmas Day, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Destroyer Division Twenty-Five, U.S.S. Case (285), Villefranche, France, December 25 1926.

USS Case (DD-285). Villefranche, on the French Riviera, was a regular port call for Navy ships during the 1920s and 1930s. However, Case’s Christmas Day menu is solidly American.

U.S.S. Colorado, San Pedro, California: Programme for Christmas Day 1926, Franklin D. Karns, Commanding, Louis P. Davis, Executive Officer.

USS Colorado (BB-45). On Christmas Day, 1926, Colorado was in port San Pedro (Los Angeles), California.

Photo #: NH 83973  Lieutenant and Mrs. Arleigh A. Burke, USN

Christmas card of 1930s vintage from future CNO Admiral Arleigh A. Burke and Mrs. Burke, featuring depictions of then-Lieutenant Burke at the camera, Mrs. Burke with accordion, and their great dane dog. The card was drawn by Mrs. Burke (NH 83973).

Joyeux Noel 1937, Squadron - 40 T, U.S.S. Raleigh, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Alpes-Maritimes, France.

USS Raleigh (CL-7). Another Villefranche port call: In contrast to USS Case above, Raleigh couched her entire dinner in French.

Cover - Children's Christmas Party On Board the United States Ship Oklahoma At Anchor in San Pedro Harbor, California, December 25, 1937.

USS Oklahoma (BB-37). The children’s Christmas party was an early community relations event—an all-day affair that included two church services, baptisms, caroling, puppet shows, and a midday feast.

U.S.S. Bridge  Christmas Menu 1939

USS Bridge (AF-1). Commissioned in 1917, Bridge spent most of her active service before and during World War II in the Pacific. However, the inadvertent pun in this image of Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge, from the ship’s tour in the Atlantic during the 1920s, was likely too good to resist using on a holiday menu.

Merry Christmas 1940, U.S.S. Mississippi, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii.

USS Mississippi (BB-41). Although home-ported in San Pedro, California at the time, Mississippi spent Christmas 1940 in Hawaii, where this expansive dinner was served. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor a year later, Mississippi was on patrol service in the North Atlantic.

Cover - Christmas Greetings, U.S.S. Astoria, Long Beach, California, 1937.

USS Astoria (CA-34). Commissioned four years previously, Astoria was a “treaty cruiser,” constructed under the limitations of the London Naval Treaty. She was lost at the Battle of Savo Island on 9 August 1942.

Cover - Christmas , U.S.S. Cushing (376), Pearl Harbor, T.H. [Territory of Hawaii], 1939.

USS Cushing (DD-376). Despite being home-ported in exotic Pearl Harbor in 1939, Cushing’s Christmas dinner was as unremarkable as its menu card.

Photo #: 80-G-K-14451 "WAVES play Santa"

WAVES of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts help wrap Christmas presents for Navy and Marine Corps convalescents at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland, circa 1944. Admiring a package is Yeoman Second Class Ann G. Fee (80-G-K-14451).

U. S. Naval Station, New Orleans - Algiers- La [Louisiana], Merry Christmas 1942.

Naval Station New Orleans, Algiers, Louisiana. Despite being printed and mimeographed on base, creative talent is still apparent on this menu. Note that the two senior enlisted commissary billets are actually filled by retired chief petty officers.

U. S. Naval Training Station, San Diego, California. Merry Christmas.

U.S. Naval Training Station, San Diego, California. The station’s commanding officer added an encouraging note to this 1943 menu. Although World War II’s duration was still uncertain, its outcome was no longer in doubt.

Cover - Christmas Dinner, U.S. Navy Receiving Station, Boston Massachusetts, 1942; photo caption: Fargo Barracks.

U.S. Navy Receiving Station, Boston, Massachusetts. Countering the intimidating facade of the receiving station barracks, the command’s chief commissary steward organized a veritable feast for the new Sailors being processed here.

Christmas 1945, U.S.S. Santa Fe.

USS Santa Fe (CL-60). At the time of the first peacetime Christmas in six years, Santa Fe was engaged in “Magic Carpet” operations, ferrying servicemembers from Pacific bases to the U.S. west coast to be discharged.

Photo #: 80-G-424639  USS Missouri (BB-63)

Teleman First Class Howard Bursley, USNR, carries bags of Christmas mail received onboard USS Missouri (BB-63) during operations off the Korean coast, 18 December 1950 (80-G-424639).

USS Iowa - 1955 New Year's dinner menu

USS Iowa (BB-61). In January 1955, Iowa was still flagship of Commander, Battleship-Cruiser Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, but was to detach shortly for an extended Mediterranean cruise with Sixth Fleet. This menu was produced in the ship’s print shop.

Seasons Greetings, U.S.S. Barry DD-933 [1956].

USS Barry (DD-933). Barry was commissioned in September 1956, three months before this holiday dinner. At the time it was being served and prepared, the ship was still being fitted out at Boston Naval Shipyard. Nonetheless, the meal was extensive and included a challenge to most cooks: enough Yorkshire pudding for the entire crew.

And from The Navy Times :

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2018/12/24/heres-what-the-mess-served-navy-shipmates-on-christmas-days-of-the-past/

The Year: 1917, about eight months after the United States entered World War I.

The Ship: The “Bulldog of the Navy” Oregon, a pre-dreadnought, Indiana-class battleship commissioned in 1896. Old school.

Menu - Relishes: Ripe olives, Celery, Green onions, Radishes; Soup: Oyster soup; Entrees: Spiced sugar cured ham; Roasts: Roast young Tom turkeys, Cranberry sauce, Giblet gravy, Chestnut dressing; Vegetables: Candied sweet potatoes, Poatato croquettes; Salad: Fruit salad; Des[s]ert: Fruit cake, Hard sauce, Lemon meringue pie, Assorted candies, Assorted nuts, Cluster raisins, Ice cream, Candy canes; Cigars, Cigarettes, Coffee - George H. Upton, Chief Commissary Stweard, United States Navy.

Menu – Relishes: Ripe olives, Celery, Green onions, Radishes; Soup: Oyster soup; Entrees: Spiced sugar cured ham; Roasts: Roast young Tom turkeys, Cranberry sauce, Giblet gravy, Chestnut dressing; Vegetables: Candied sweet potatoes, Poatato croquettes; Salad: Fruit salad; Des[s]ert: Fruit cake, Hard sauce, Lemon meringue pie, Assorted candies, Assorted nuts, Cluster raisins, Ice cream, Candy canes; Cigars, Cigarettes, Coffee – George H. Upton, Chief Commissary Stweard, United States Navy.

The Ship:  1941-The humble Bridge, the lead storeship (AF-1!) of her class, serving proudly through World War I and World War II.

Christmas Dinner 25 December 1941: Tomato Madrilene, Crisp Saltines, Ripe Olives, Sweet Mixed Pickles, Roast Young Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Oyster Dressing, Baked Spiced Ham, Giblet Gravy, Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Peas, Radishes, Cauliflower Au Gratin, Hearts of Celery, Combination Salad, Thousand Island Dressing, Parkerhouse Rolls, Butter, Pumpkin Pie, Hot Mince Pie, Apple Pie, Candy, Fruit Cake, Ice Cream, Mixed Nuts, Cigars, Cigarettes, Coffee.

Christmas Dinner 25 December 1941: Tomato Madrilene, Crisp Saltines, Ripe Olives, Sweet Mixed Pickles, Roast Young Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Oyster Dressing, Baked Spiced Ham, Giblet Gravy, Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Peas, Radishes, Cauliflower Au Gratin, Hearts of Celery, Combination Salad, Thousand Island Dressing, Parkerhouse Rolls, Butter, Pumpkin Pie, Hot Mince Pie, Apple Pie, Candy, Fruit Cake, Ice Cream, Mixed Nuts, Cigars, Cigarettes, Coffee.

The Year: 1982.

The Ship: The Cavalla, a Sturgeon-class submarine

Christmas Dinner Menu, 25 December 1982, Roast Prime Rib of Beef, Natural Beef Au Jus, Yorkshire Pudding, Rice Pilaf, Almondine String Beans, Glazed Baby Carrots, Shrimp Cocktail, Assorted Relish Tray, Cheese Cubes, Waldorf Salad, German Chocolate Cake, Fruitcake, Hot Dinner Rolls, Mixed Nuts, Candy, Coffee, Tea, Milk, Iced Drinks.

Boat Highlight-USS Hartford SSN 768

The USS Hartford was commissioned on December 10, 1994 in Groton, CT. She is the second ship to be named after the city of Harford. SSN 768 is a Los Angeles class submarine. She is 360 feet long with a beam of 33 feet and a draft of 29 feet. Designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, Hartford is equipped to handle special operations, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, strike warfare and anti-ship warfare. This October, USS Hartford was honored with being named the best ship in the Atlantic Fleet. Still stationed in Naval Base New London, she has participated in the last two ICEX exercises and has just recently completed an unplanned deployment shortly after returning from the Arctic. Upon winning the award, The Day newspaper wrote:

Groton — Embroidered on the crew’s blue ball caps, next to the submarine’s motto, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” is a small trophy, a nod to the coveted award they’ve received.

But other than that small insignia, the crew does not intend to boast about their boat being selected as the best all-around warship in the Navy’s Atlantic fleet — not a surprise from sailors who signed up to be part of the silent service.

Figure 1 Crew members of the USS Hartford (SSN 768) listen Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, during the pier-side ceremony awarding the Hartford the 2017 Battenberg Cup Award at the Naval Submarine Station in Groton. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

The crew took it in stride “because they know that tomorrow requires the same amount of effort as today and even more than yesterday,” the ship’s captain, Cmdr. Matthew Fanning, 42, said by email this week.

During a pier-side ceremony at the Naval Submarine Base on Saturday, the crew of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hartford was presented with a plaque, signifying it is the recipient of the 2017 Battenberg Cup, a trophy with a storied history dating to 1905 that initially started as a U.S.–British rivalry.

“There is no question that Hartford deserves the Battenberg Cup for our efforts, but I know there are many captains that can say the same and they would not be lying,” Fanning said. “Our Navy has ships at sea today and every day keeping our country safe and on each one there is a crew working tirelessly to help one another succeed. It is humbling to accept this award knowing how many other crews are also worthy of it.”

The story of the cup began in 1905, when Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg, a commander of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, made goodwill port visits to Annapolis, Md., Washington, D.C., and New York City. He sent the cup to the commander of the U.S. North Atlantic Fleet and decreed that the ship possessing it could be challenged to a rowing cutter race by its British or American counterpart any time the two ships met.

The racing was interrupted during World War II, and it wasn’t until 1978 that the Navy assigned the cup a new significance: to serve as a symbol of excellence.

Today, nearly 100 surface ships, aircraft carriers and submarines are eligible for the award. The Hartford was selected “based on outstanding crew achievements and an exceptional level of operational effectiveness,” the Navy said. It is the fifth submarine to take home the honor.

Master Chief Nathan Chappelle, 35, the chief of the boat, attributed the achievement to the crew’s ability to “flex” and “roll with the punches,” but also to Fanning’s leadership and “his ability to keep the crew informed when less than desirable things happen.”

The Hartford has participated in the past two Ice Exercises, known as ICEX,  which test the Navy’s ability to operate in the Arctic. The five-week exercise is held every two years. During this year’s exercise, the Hartford tested its ability to shoot and recover torpedoes beneath Arctic sea ice. Another submarine was supposed to participate in the exercise but had issues, so the Hartford “got called up,” Chappelle said.

Figure 2 EAUFORT SEA (March 11, 2018) A field team from Ice Camp Skate prepares to attach a brow aboard the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) in support of Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Michael H. Lee/Released) http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/03/08/icex2018/

After the boat returned from the Arctic, it was sent on an unexpected two-month “surge” deployment, he added, “which threw a wrench in our schedule.”

At the start of the year, Hartford received the Battle “E” Award as the best ship in its squadron, and that likely “played into our contention” for the Battenberg Cup, Chappelle said.

Logistics proved too tricky to bring the 3-foot-tall, steel-plated trophy from the Norfolk, Va., offices of Vice Adm. Charles “Chas” Richards, commander of the Atlantic submarine force, to Groton, so instead the crew was presented with a plaque. Plus, there’s no room for a trophy of that size aboard a submarine, where space is precious.

The crew members were a bit disappointed they didn’t get to see the trophy in person. They’d hoped to revel in Stanley Cup-like celebrations. But the boat’s leadership tempered those expectations.

The Hartford was out to sea when Fanning, the commanding officer, got the message that his boat was the winner. He immediately got on the boat’s general announcement system to relay the news to the crew. He’d been telling them they were the best for a long time but now the Navy had seen fit to agree with him, he said. He told them how proud he was, and that he appreciated their hard work whether they receive awards or not. He signed off with “Damn the torpedoes!”

Admittedly, some of the younger submariners had to ask, “What is this thing we just won?”

Yeoman 2nd Class Taylor Gilbert, 22, who’s been on the Hartford for three years, described it this way: “We’d been busting our butts, working really hard, like we always do. At first a lot of guys were like, ‘That’s awesome but what is it, really?'”

The award “showed off how much the crew has come together over the years,” Gilbert said.

It wasn’t that long ago that sailors begrudged getting orders to the Hartford, which was commissioned in 1994. In 2009, the submarine collided with a Navy amphibious ship, the USS New Orleans (LPD 18), in the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East. The Navy found the crew of the Hartford to be at fault.

Now, it’s the most sought-after submarine assignment on the East Coast, Gilbert said.

https://www.theday.com/article/20181020/NWS09/181029924?fbclid=IwAR2b6W4PdI88rQOuz65GKerTeiHDJY–FL7eDL1oKHNu-Qnu9Ja8LbghsJk

 

Congratulations USS Hartford on your accomplishment!

Pearl Harbor Day- From Those Who Were There

 A Sailor’s Account of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Excerpt from Oral History of Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class Lee Soucy, crewman aboard USS Utah (AG-16) on 7 December 1941.  Oral History from the NHHC website

I had just had breakfast and was looking out a porthole in sick bay when someone said, “What the hell are all those planes doing up there on a Sunday? ” Someone else said, “It must be those crazy Marines. They’d be the only ones out maneuvering on a Sunday.” When I looked up in the sky I saw five or six planes starting their descent. Then when the first bombs dropped on the hangers at Ford Island, I thought, “Those guys are missing us by a mile.” Inasmuch as practice bombing was a daily occurrence to us, it was not too unusual for planes to drop bombs, but the time and place were quite out of line. We could not imagine bombing practice in port. It occurred to me and to most of the others that someone had really goofed this time and put live bombs on those planes by mistake.

In any event, even after I saw a huge fireball and cloud of black smoke rise from the hangers on Ford Island and heard explosions, it did not occur to me that these were enemy planes. It was too incredible! Simply beyond imagination! “What a SNAFU,” I moaned.

As I watched the explosions on Ford Island in amazement and disbelief, I felt the ship lurch. We didn’t know it then, but we were being bombed and torpedoed by planes approaching from the opposite (port) side.

The bugler and bosun’s mate were on the fantail ready to raise the colors at 8 o’clock. In a matter of seconds, the bugler sounded “General Quarters.” I grabbed my first aid bag and headed for my battle station amidship.

A number of the ship’s tremors are vaguely imprinted in my mind, but I remember one jolt quite vividly. As I was running down the passageway toward my battle station, another torpedo or bomb hit and shook the ship severely. I was knocked off balance and through the log room door. I got up a little dazed and immediately darted down the ladder below the armored deck. I forgot my first aid kit.

By then the ship was already listing. There were a few men down below who looked dumbfounded and wondered out loud, “What’s going on?” I felt around my shoulder in great alarm. No first aid kit! Being out of uniform is one thing, but being at a battle station without proper equipment is more than embarrassing.

After a minute or two below the armored deck, we heard another bugle call, then the bosun’s whistle followed by the boatswain’s chant, “Abandon ship…Abandon ship.”

We scampered up the ladder. As I raced toward the open side of the deck, an officer stood by a stack of life preservers and tossed the jackets at us as we ran by. When I reached the open deck, the ship was listing precipitously. I thought about the huge amount of ammunition we had on board and that it would surely blow up soon. I wanted to get away from the ship fast, so I discarded my life jacket. I didn’t want a Mae West slowing me down.

Another thing that jolted my memory was how rough the beach on Ford Island was. The day previous, I had been part of a fire and rescue party dispatched to fight a small fire on Ford Island. The fire was out by the time we got there but I remember distinctly the rugged beach, so I tied double knots in my shoes whereas just about everyone else kicked their’s off.

I was tensely poised for a running dive off the partially exposed hull when the ship lunged again and threw me off balance. I ended up with my bottom sliding across and down the barnacle encrusted bottom of the ship.

When the ship had jolted, I thought we had been hit by another bomb or torpedo, but later it was determined that the mooring lines snapped which caused the 21,000-ton ship to jerk so violently as she keeled over.

Nevertheless, after I bobbed up to the surface of the water to get my bearings, I spotted a motor launch with a coxswain fishing men out of the water with his boot hook. I started to swim toward the launch. After a few strokes, a hail of bullets hit the water a few feet in front of me in line with the launch. As the strafer banked, I noticed the big red insignias on his wing tips. Until then, I really had not known who attacked us. At some point, I had heard someone shout, “Where did those Germans come from?” I quickly decided that a boat full of men would be a more likely strafing target than a lone swimmer, so I changed course and hightailed it for Ford Island.

I reached the beach exhausted and as I tried to catch my breath, another pharmacist’s mate, Gordon Sumner, from the Utah, stumbled out of the water. I remember how elated I was to see him. There is no doubt in my mind that bewilderment, if not misery, loves company. I remember I felt guilty that I had not made any effort to recover my first aid kit. Sumner had his wrapped around his shoulders.

The USS Oglala capsized at Pearl Harbor after being hit by Japanese aircraft, December 7, 1941. Smoke billows from other damaged and destroyed American ships in the background. Photo courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration (296007).

 

A Civilian’s letters home about Pearl Harbor

From http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/eyewitness-pearl-harbor , Beth Slingerland wrote letters to her mother and father about watching the attack from the hills overlooking the Naval Base.

Honolulu, [Territory of Hawaii]

Sunday Morning
Between 8-9 Am.
Under Attack by an Enemy – Japan

Dearest Mother and Dad,

How can I write at such a time? I have to do something because I can see the smoke pouring up into the air from Pearl Harbor and the sound of the guns and the bombs bursting in the water right before us keeps me in such a nervous state that I must do something. John is at Pearl Harbor. He left early this morning because he was supposed to go today—they have been rushing so. I know they have hit places there because I see so much, much smoke.

The guns began some time ago but I thought they were our own usual gun fire. Then I just got nervous and went out to take a better look to discover all the smoke and just then great spouts of water began rising out of the ocean. . . . The great spouts rose all about some of our battle ships. . . . I turned on the radio just in time to hear that we were under attack by “the Enemy”. All I can think of is John down there where they are [attacking.] How do people face bravely the fact that their husbands are in places where they may be killed any day and I can’t get any news, of course, and I do not know how long it will be before I shall know anything. I love him so I can’t look into the future without him.

Another attack came and I watched it. My only comfort is being up here where I can see so much. Eight Japanese planes flew over the house on to Waikiki and out to sea. Their big red circles showed up so plainly. Lots of planes were high and the anti-aircraft tracer bullets are all over Pearl Harbor. . . . I can see our ships guarding the entrance to the Honolulu Harbor. At times the bombs fall about these ships. Right now things are more quiet but I can still feel the jar of the big guns. . . . I can see lots of smoke in back of the big hangers at [Hickam] Field. . . . Where I sit to write this I can look out all over the sea so I watch and write at the same time. No planes are in the sky right now. . . . What I thought were submarines seem to be cruisers and destroyers. The water is breaking high over them.

…More enemy planes have come since I wrote last. . . . Big fires burst out below and are still raging with great flames shooting up into the air. . . . We hear planes and then we see the tracer smoke puffs of the anti aircraft being fired from Pearl Harbor.

 

…[At] about four-thirty or five…I heard the familiar sound of John’s [shoes] coming up our driveway and I do not ever remember hearing anything more welcome.

[John’s] experience had been very horrible and I imagine it will be a long time before he is back to his old self again. He heard the unusual explosions coming from Ford Island way, went out to see what was up and beheld the Japanese planes flying no more than 50 feet off the ground coming right before him. The [USS Oglala] was blown up right before his eyes and the men worked hard to get all the men off before she turned over on her side and sank. They were not entirely successful. . . . Then [the Japanese] got three battle ships and three cruisers, and some destroyers. John cannot bear the thought of seeing our beautiful big ships sent to the bottom with just funnels sticking out of the water. Later in the morning he was called to try to move the huge crane…just as more Japanese planes came. He ran to as much cover as he could find but it wasn’t enough for from the rear of the planes flying low they machine gunned at him and one young man. The bullets so close lent wings to their feet and they threw themselves over some sort of a high iron wall…so that they were between that and some cement. A piece of shrapnel came through a hole and scraped his side but not seriously, thank goodness. . . . He dug the shrapnel out of the cement after all was quiet and brought it home. I had no idea how jagged and heavy they would be.

They fought fires and did all kinds of things all day. The last big raid came at about twelve o’clock. His praise for the boys on the USS Pennsylvania knows no bounds. He said that they were at their posts so quick that he cannot even know now how they managed to do it. They had their [anti-aircraft guns] at work almost immediately.

Envelope from Beth’s letter postmarked December 8, 1941

George Herbert Walker Bush, 1924-2018

From Naval History and Heritage Command Website:

Upon hearing of the Pearl Harbor attack, while a student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, George Bush decided he wanted to join the Navy to become an aviator. Six months later, after graduation, he enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday and began pre-flight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the US Naval Reserve on 9 June 1943, several days before his 19th birthday, making him one of the youngest naval aviators.

 

After finishing flight training, he was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) as photographic officer in September 1943. As part of Air Group 51, his squadron was based on USS San Jacinto in the spring of 1944. San Jacinto was part of Task Force 58 that participated in operations against Marcus and Wake Islands in May, and then in the Marianas during June. On 19 June, the task force triumphed in one of the largest air battles of the war. During the return of his aircraft from the mission, Ensign Bush’s aircraft made a forced water landing. The destroyer, USS Clarence K. Bronson, rescued the crew, but the plane was lost. On 25 July, Ensign Bush and another pilot received credit for sinking a small cargo ship.

After Bush was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade on 1 August, San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. On 2 September 1944, Bush piloted one of four aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chi Chi Jima. For this mission his crew included Radioman Second Class John Delaney, and Lieutenant Junior Grade William White, USNR, who substituted for Bush’s regular gunner. During their attack, four TBM Avengers from VT-51 encountered intense antiaircraft fire. While starting the attack, Bush’s aircraft was hit and his engine caught on fire. He completed his attack and released the bombs over his target scoring several damaging hits. With his engine on fire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft. However, the other man’s chute did not open and he fell to his death. It was never determined which man bailed out with Bush. Both Delaney and White were killed in action. While Bush anxiously waited four hours in his inflated raft, several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine, USS Finback. During the month he remained on Finback, Bush participated in the rescue of other pilots.

Subsequently, Bush returned to San Jacinto in November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines. When San Jacinto returned to Guam, the squadron, which had suffered 50 percent casualties of its pilots, was replaced and sent to the United States. Throughout 1944, he had flown 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded San Jacinto.

Because of his valuable combat experience, Bush was reassigned to Norfolk and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. Later, he was assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, VT-153. With the surrender of Japan, he was honorably discharged in September 1945 and then entered Yale University.
Former Lieutenant George Herbert Walker Bush,
US Naval Reserve Transcript of Naval Service

12 June 1924 Born in Milton, Massachusetts
13 June 1942 Enlisted in US Naval Reserve
5 August 1942 Reported for Active Duty
8 June 1943 Honorably Discharged
9 June 1943 Ensign, US Naval Reserve and continued on Active Duty
1 August 1944 Lieutenant (junior grade)
18 September 1945 Released from Active Duty under honorable conditions
16 November 1948 Lieutenant
24 October 1955 Resignation accepted under honorable conditions
SHIPS AND STATIONS
US Naval Air Station, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Instrn) June 1943 – August 1943
Naval Air Operational Training Command Carrier Qualification Training Unit US Naval Air Station, Glenview, Ill. (Instrn) August 1943 – August 1943
Air Force, US Atlantic Fleet, US Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Va. (Instrn) August 1943 – September 1943
Carrier Aircraft Service 21 (Instrn) September 1943 – September 1943
Torpedo Squadron 51 (Naval Aviator) September 1943 – December 1943
Air Force, US Atlantic Fleet, US Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Va. December 1944 – February 1945
Torpedo Squadron 97 February 1945 – March 1945
Torpedo Squadron 153(Naval Aviator) March 1945 – September 1945
Headquarters, FIFTH Naval District September 1945 – September 1945

PERSONAL DECORATIONS Distinguished Flying Cross.
Air Medal with two gold stars in lieu of subsequent awards
Presidential Unit Citation awarded USS San Jacinto (CVL-30)

The Navy's tribute to former President George H.W. Bush on his passing, Nov. 30, 2018.

The Navy’s tribute to former President George H.W. Bush on his passing, Nov. 30, 2018. U.S. Navy graphic https://dod.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1702844/tributes-flow-in-as-nation-mourns-passing-of-george-hw-bush/

Flashback History of the Submarine Insignia

Today we are flashing back to September 1924 and January 1961 and the history of the Submarine Insignia

Evening star. [volume], September 28, 1924, Page 11, Image 57
Army and Navy News by M. H. McIntyre

Announcement was made this week by the Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department, prescribing the qualifications for officers and enlisted men for wearing the submarine insignia, which was approved by the Secretary of the Navy last March.”(a) Officers qualified for submarine command in accordance with chapter 3. Paragraphs 203-209, Submarine Instructions, November. 1919,”are authorized to wear this insignia. The insignia will be worn at all times by the commissioned personnel as specified in (a) while they are attached to submarine units or organizations ashore or afloat, but it may not be worn at any time by officers when not attached to submarine organizations.


The following enlisted men are authorized to wear this insignia: (a) Men found qualified for submarine duty in accordance with chapter 3. Paragraphs 214-215. Submarine Instructions, November, 1919, whose certification of qualification appears on their service records.
(h) Men who prior to the issue of Submarine Instructions, November 1919 were found qualified for submarine duty and whose certification of qualification appears on their service records.

One of the earliest versions of the submarine warfare insignia, circa the 1920s. https://theleansubmariner.com/2018/10/19/submarine-dolphins-part-three-the-artists-that-created-the-insignia/

As specified in (a) and (b) the insignia will be worn at all times by enlisted men while attached to submarine units or organizations, ashore or afloat. Enlisted men will not be authorized to wear this insignia if they are not attached to submarine units. A change in the Uniform Regulations covering the details of the insignia and the manner of wearing it is in course of preparation and will be issued to the service shortly.
These qualifications will be incorporated in the Bureau of Navigation Manual when reprinted.

ALL Hands Magazine JANUARY 1961
Dolphins

“A high point in the career of many a Navy man occurs when he becomes a qualified submariner. At that time he is authorized to wear dolphins.
The correct name for the dolphins is submarine insigne. It is one of the items of uniform included under the category of breast insignia, including naval aviator, aviation observer and parachutist insignia, among others.
The submarine insignia came into use in the Navy nearly 37 years ago. It was on 13 Jun 1923 that the commander of a New London-based submarine division, took the first official steps—by way of an official recommendation. That officer was Captain Ernest Joseph King, USN, who later became Commander-in-Chief U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations.
Captain King recommended that a distinguishing device be adopted for qualified submariners, both officers and enlisted men. With his recommendation he submitted a pen-and-ink sketch of his own. The sketch showed a shield mounted on the beam ends of a submarine, with dolphins forward of, and abaft, the conning tower. The recommendation was strongly endorsed by Commander, Submarine Divisions, Atlantic Fleet, the following day and sent on to the Chief of the old Bureau of Navigation.
Over the next several months the Bureau solicited additional designs from various sources. Several were submitted. Some combined a submarine-and-shark motif. Some showed submarines and dolphins. Some used a shield design.

On 20 March 1924, the Chief of BuNav recommended to the Secretary of the Navy that the dolphin design be adopted. A few days later the recommendation was accepted by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Acting SecNav.
The final design shows the bow view of a submarine proceeding on the surface of the sea. Her bow planes care rigged for diving. Flanking the submarine are stylized dolphins in horizontal position with their heads resting on the upper edge of the bow planes.
As with other breast insignia (and enlisted distinguishing marks), qualifications are outlined in the Bupers Manual, while the method of wearing, a description of the design and an illustration of the design are to be found in Uniform Regulations.
The submarine insignia in the early days were awarded only to those officers qualified for submarine command. Later the criteria became “Qualified in sub- marines.” Also in the early days, the insignia were worn (both by officers and enlisted men) only when attached to submarines or submarine organizations. Under current directives however, once qualified, the insignia may be worn regardless of the duty being performed.
As first authorized, the insigne for officers was a bronze, gold-plated metal pin. Later, both a gold embroidered insigne and a gold-color metal pin became authorized.
Today enlisted submariners may wear either a silver-color metal pin or an embroidered dolphin. The latter is either white or blue, depending on the uniform worn.
Originally, the embroidered insigne was worn on an enlisted man’s right sleeve, midway between the wrist and elbow. To day it is worn on the left breast.”

A Navy Thanksgiving Menu

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, we think about all those who are currently deployed and unable to be with their families for the Holiday. While nothing can replace being with loved ones, the Navy does its best to make it feel as much like a holiday as possible. However, what does a Navy Thanksgiving menu look like?

NORFOLK (Nov. 23, 2017) Command Master Chief Huben Phillips, command master chief of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), serves turkey at a Thanksgiving meal held aboard the ship. The ship hosted Sailors and their family members at the event held on the ship’s mess decks. The ship is in port in Norfolk, Virginia, conducting routine maintenance after a seven-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean Hurt/Released)

For more than 100 years, the Navy has included roast turkey on its Thanksgiving menu. In 1905, the USS Raleigh’s Thanksgiving menu listed: creamed asparagus bouillon; celery; creamed potatoes, young onions a la hollandaise, steamed cabbage, and white sauce; oyster dressing; cranberry sauce; assorted nuts; and—of course—roast turkey. No feast would be complete without dessert. In 1905, pumpkin pie, mince pie, and fruitcake topped off the holiday meal.

Head table with guests at the Thanksgiving dinner with the First Regiment, U.S. Naval Training Camp, Charleston, South Carolina, c. 1917
Photo Taken from the National Museum of the United States Navy Facebook page

In a release from the US Navy in 1969, a transcript of a film wrote:
“November 25, 1969
SERVICEMEN AROUND THE WORLD HAVE THANKSGIVING TURKEY
(Official U.S. Navy Film Released by the Department of Defense)
Hundreds of thousands of U.S. military men and women around the world will receive their Thanksgiving turkey, even men in remote posts in Vietnam.
With the official menu announced by Department of Defense including the traditional bird and all the fixings, only those personnel assigned overseas and on board ships will enjoy shrimp cocktail due to the devastation of most of the U. S. gulf coast shrimp during Hurricane Camille last August.
These men, stationed at Little Creek, Virginia board LCU (Utility Landing Craft) 1625, partake of just a portion of the holiday foods which will be served to the American fighting men and women around the world.
A total of approximately 2,800,000 pounds of turkey, 192,000 pounds of shrimp, 787,500 pounds of potatoes, 383,933 pounds of cranberry sauce and 350,000 pounds of fruitcake await the U.S. military personnel on this American holiday.
According to the Department of Defense, the same basic menu will be served on Christmas Day.”

Below you will find Thanksgiving Menus from Naval Submarine Base in Pearl Harbor from 1941:

Last year the Navy estimated that 89,000 pounds of turkey would be served to the Navy forces. The below graphic was posted on the navy.mil site to show the amount of food it takes to make a Thanksgiving feast happen for our sailors:

According to the National Museum of the United States Navy, this year is shaping up to be another large feast:

For service members deployed during Thanksgiving, the Defense Logistics Agency has shipped over 300,000 pounds of traditional Thanksgiving food worldwide, from the Middle East to Europe, Africa, Texas, and Arizona.

This year service members received:
-9,738 whole turkeys
-51,234 pounds of roasted turkey
-74,036 pounds of beef
-21,758 pounds of ham
-67,860 pounds of shrimp
-16,284 pounds of sweet potatoes
-81,360 pies
-19,284 cakes
-7,836 gallons of eggnog.

From all of us here at the Submarine Force Library and Museum we want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

USS Tecumesh

Submarine Highlight- The USS Tecumseh (SSBN 628)

The USS Tecumseh was a James Madison- class ballistic missile. Built by Electric Boat in 1962, she was commissioned in May of 1964. Her crews would complete 21 patrols within her first five years in commission. Originally, SSBN- 628 was named William Penn but was renamed on April 11, 1962. Her new name would be to honor a Shawnee Indian chief- Tecumseh

.

Tecumseh was a renowned warrior who devoted his life to preserving his tribe and protecting them from the advancement of white settlers. He believe that land in North America, especially the Ohio Valley belonged to its tribal ancestors, thus finding that any sale of territory to be invalid.  Fighting for the British in the War of 1812, Tecumseh would die at the Battle of the Thames in 1813. Circumstances surrounding his death are still unclear with multiple stories and multiple people claiming to have taken the Shawnee chiefs life.  Tecumseh’s life long goal was to keep tribal lands with their rightful owners. He promoted tribal unity and believed that the land belonged to them collectively.  After his death, the remaining land east of the Mississippi River would be ceded to the U.S. government giving up any hope of retaining control of the Old Northwest Territory. His dream of a pan-Indian confederation would not be realized until 1944. After his death, Tecumseh took on folk status. A statue of the Shawnee chief stands today at the United States Naval Academy.  It is said that if a midshipmen is looking for luck, they will provide an offering of pennies to Tecumseh while not stepping on the USNA seal, which Tecumseh’s stature guards. It is said that

Statue of Tecumseh at the United States Naval Academy

The original wooden figure was salvaged from the ship-of-the-line Delaware, which was sunk Union forces in 1861 at the Norfolk Navy Yard to prevent her falling into Confederate hands. Brought to the Naval Academy in 1866, the figurehead was intended to portray Tamanend, the revered Delaware chief who welcomed William Penn to America when he arrived in Delaware territory in 1682.When the wooden bust arrived, midshipmen widely referred to the statue as several other names, such as Powhatan, King Phillip and finally Tecumseh, in reference to the brave and skillful Shawnee warrior.[1]

After being decommissioned in 1993, Tecumseh had her two starboard torpedo tubes transferred to the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum for installation in there torpedo exhibit. As a James Madison- class sub, she held four Mark 65 torpedo tubes. Most weapons are usually launched hydraulically but the Mark 65 had a swim out capability that allowed a weapon to leave the tube under its own power.

The insignia for SSBN-628 was adopted in 1963. According to Naval History and Heritage Command:

Its design ties the life of Tecumseh with the mission of the ship that bears his name. The insignia’s background is in the shape of an Indian arrowhead, and also represents the United States Shield. The panther symbolizes one translation of the name Tecumseh: “Crouching Panther.” The crossed Polaris and Indian items are placed in the shape of the British Union Jack, while the Fleur-De-Lis Represents France. Both nations had great influence on the Northern Indians and are present day allies of the United States. The motto stands for both Tecumseh’s attempts to unite the tribes against the white setters, and the unity of NATO today.[1]

[1] https://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-65000/NH-65727-KN.html

[1] http://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/08/26/annapoliss-relics-of-luck/

The Men With the Unbreakable Code

The Code Talkers of World War II

My wartime experiences developing a code that utilized the Navajo language taught how important our Navajo culture is to our country. For me that is the central lesson: that diverse cultures can make a country richer and stronger. – Chester Nez, Navajo Code Talker

Carl Gorman- Navajo

https://americanindian.si.edu/education/codetalkers/html/chapter4.html

 Gorman joined the United States Marine Corps in 1942 when he learned they were recruiting Navajos. He went through all the difficult training and was one of the original 29 Navajos who were given the secret mission of developing the Navajo code. Carl answered one of his officers who had asked why Navajos were able to memorize the complex code so quickly: “For us, everything is memory, it’s part of our heritage. We have no written language. Our songs, our prayers, our stories, they’re all handed down from grandfather to father to children—and we listen, we hear, we learn to remember everything. It’s part of our training.” (Power of a Navajo: Carl Gorman, the Man and His Life, by Henry and Georgia Greenberg,1996) Carl served in four important Pacific battles: Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Tinian, and Saipan. In 1942, Carl was stricken by Malaria, a severe tropical disease, yet he continued to fight. In 1944, Carl was evacuated from Saipan suffering both from the effects of Malaria and shell shock. Shell shock is the psychological effects of being in extremely stressful and dangerous situations, such as combat. Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a mosquito. Malaria was a common disease in the Pacific islands where much of the war against Japan was fought. He had to be hospitalized and took many months to recover. [1]

Charles Chibitty- Comanche

“Well, I was afraid and if I didn’t talk to the Creator, something was wrong. Because when you’re going to go in battle, that’s the first thing you’re going to do, you’re going to talk to the Creator.—Charles Chibitty, Comanche Code Talker, National Museum of the American Indian interview, 2004

Charles Chibitty was one of 17 Comanche men who served as Code Talkers in World War II. In 1941, when he learned that Comanches were being recruited to speak their language, he volunteered for the United States Army. Mr. Chibitty helped develop the code that the Comanches used and participated in some of the fiercest fighting of the war, including the D-Day landing in Normandy. He attained the rank of Corporal.

https://www.army.mil/article/90294/Charles_Chibitty__Comanche_Code_Talker/

Chester Nez- Navajo

Chester Nez was in 10th grade at the time that the military began recruiting Navajo code talkers. He became one of the first 29 men chosen to join the 382 Platoon- the all Native American Unit of the Marines. At the end of the war, Nez reenlisted and served in Korea. He retired in 1974 after 25 years of service. Until 1968, Nez was unable to tell anyone, including his family, about his contributions during WWII. In 2014, he came the last of the original 29 code talkers to pass away, at the age of 93.  Nez said of his time in the war, “When bombs dropped, generally we code talkers couldn’t just curl up in a shelter,” Nez wrote in his book. “We were almost always needed to transmit information, to ask for supplies and ammunition, and to communicate strategies. And after each transmission, to avoid Japanese fire, we had to move.”[1]  He also stated that “Our Navajo code was one of the most important military secrets of World War II. The fact that the Marines did not tell us Navajo men how to develop that code indicated their trust in us and in our abilities. The feeling that I could make it in both the white world and the Navajo world began there, and it has stayed with me all of my life. For that I am grateful.”[2]

Joe Housteen Kellwood- Navjao

Kellwood was born in Arizona in 1921 and would later be sent to a school on an Apache reservation run by the US military. He would enlist in the Marine Corps after reading about the efforts in the Battle of Guadalcanal. He was unaware of the top-secret code talkers’ programs when he enlisted. During his training he learned Morse code, radio and of course the Navajo codes.  After the war, Kellwood would settle in Sunnyslope, Arizona. He was extremely close with his brother Roy who also served – in the US Army Air Force. Joe passed away only three days after his brother Roy in 2016. Roy’s son said of his father and uncle “They were Navajo warriors – that’s what everyone calls them. They defended the country, not just for the US, but for the Navajo nation and the Navajo people.” [1]

Frank Sanache- Meskwaki

The eight Meskwaki code talkers – Edward Benson, Dewey Roberts, Frank Sanache, Willard Sanache, Melvin Twin, Judy Wayne Wabaunasee, Mike Wayne Wabaunasee and Dewey Youngbear

Frank Sanache was one of eight Meskwakis trained to use code in World War II. The Meskwaki tribe is based in Tama County and was among the 18 tribes that contributed code talkers in the war. Sanache unfrotantly had little opportunity to use his language skills after being shipped to North Africa were there were few Meskwaki code talkers for him to work with. He was captured after just five months at war and would spend 28 months as a prisoner of war. Describing his time as a POW, Sanache said A cup of hot water in the morning for coffee. A little bowl of soup at noon, then two potatoes at night. That’s what you live on. That’s what I lived on for three years.—Frank Sanache, Meskwaki Code Talker (discussing the meals provided for him as a prisoner of war), National Museum of the American Indian interview, 2004[1] In 2013, the eight Meskwaki Code talkers were posthumously awarded the  Congressional Gold Medal.

This is only a small list of those that served.

[1] https://americanindian.si.edu/education/codetalkers/html/chapter4.html

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2016/09/07/us/navajo-code-talker-joe-hosteen-kellwood-obit/

[1] http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/04/decoding-history-a-world-war-ii-navajo-code-talker-in-his-own-words/

[2] http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/04/decoding-history-a-world-war-ii-navajo-code-talker-in-his-own-words/

 

[1] https://americanindian.si.edu/education/codetalkers/html/chapter4.html

The Code Talkers of WWII

November is Native American Heritage month and the Navy is celebrating the achievements of American Indians and Alaskan natives within its ranks. As of June 2018, they make up 2.3% of the Navy’s total force. In World War II, 44,000 served in the armed forces, 15,000 in Korea and more than 42,000 in Vietnam. One of the most notable stories about their contributions is that of the code talkers in World War II. These code talkers and their code remained secret until 1968.
During the height of the war in the Pacific, Japanese troops were intercepting messages sent by American forces. It wasn’t until after the war that the Japanese admitted that they were unable to break the Navajo code used by the Marine Corps. Navajo code talkers took part in every major assault that the Marines conducted in the Pacific. The idea to use native code talkers came from a son of a missionary to the Navajos, Philip Johnston. Raised on a Navajo reservation, he was one of a few outside of the tribe who spoke the language fluently. While many believe that the Navajo code talkers were the first, Johnston knew of Native American languages used during World War I to encode messages.
Why was the Navajo code so unbreakable? Its syntax and dialects make it unintelligible to anyone without extensive training and exposure. There is no alphabet or symbols and at the start of WWII, less than 30 non-Navajos could understand the language. Within two weeks of being given permission to do a trial run, Johnston had assembled four Navajos to meet his superiors to perform a demonstration. Johnston told his commanding officers that despite many Navajo’s to recruit, their reservation was isolated and largely inaccessible land. Their language was preserved with theme truly unbreakable to outsiders. According to archives.gov, prior to the demonstration on February 28, 1942,” General Vogel had installed a telephone connection between two offices and had written out six messages that were typical of those sent during combat. One of those messages read, ‘Enemy expected to make tank and dive bomber attack at dawn.’ The Navajos transmitted the message almost verbatim.” A week later, Vogel recommended the initial recruitment of two hundred Navajos for the Pacific Fleet. Vogel was impressed by the fact that the language was completely unintelligible by other tribes and the larger public. He was also impressed by the fact that it was also one of the few tribes that had not been infiltrated by Germany posing as students and art dealers.

Figure 1 First 29 Navajo U.S. Marine Corps code-talker recruits being sworn in at Fort Wingate, NM, in 1942. (National Archives Identifier) 295175
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/last-of-original-group-of-navajo-code-talkers-dies/article/385626#ixzz5WCzRzEHT

The Navajo code talkers were required to attend basic training and meet strict linguistic qualifications in English and Navajo. On May 5, 1942, the first twenty-nine Navajos arrived in San Diego for basic training. After training, they moved to Fleet Marine Training Center at Camp Elliott where the first Navajo code was created. The code was 211 words- Navajo terms that were given new military meanings. There was also a system that signified the twenty-six letters of English alphabet. The program would go on to be so successful that an additional two hundred Navajos were recruited. As the program grew, so did the code. The original 211 vocabulary would eventually expand to 411. Into 1943, an additional 303 Navajos were recruited at 50 men a month for six months. The primary strength of the code talkers was the amount of secrecy and versatility with which they could be used. Capt. Ralph J. Sturkey called the code “the simplest, fastest, and most reliable means.” It is estimated that between 375 and 420 Navajos served as code talkers. Official Marine Corps records contain very few battle reports related to the code talkers, due in part of keeping their code secret. The code talkers served in all six Marine divisions earning praise for their work in the Solomons and the Marianas and on Peleliu. Operations in Iwo Jima were completely directed by Navajo Code. Fifth Marine Division Signal Officer Major Howard Conner said that “During the two days that followed the initial landings I had six Navajo radio nets working around the clock…They sent and received over 800 messages without an error. Were it not for the Navajo Code Talkers, the Marines never would have taken Iwo Jima.”

Figure 2 President George W. Bush presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Navajo code talkers on July 26, 2001. (White House Photo Office)

After the war, the Navajo code talkers went unrecognized. Unlike other veterans, they returned home on buses without parades and were sworn to secrecy in case the Navajo code was ever to be needed again. In 1992, an exhibit was created at the Pentagon in order to recognize the contributions of code talkers. Thirty-five code talkers attended the dedication of the exhibit which includes photographs, equipment, and the original code. In the summer of 2001, twenty-nine Navajo code talkers received the Congressional Gold Medal with others receiving the Congressional Silver Medal. A large committee from the Navajo nation came to support those who were receiving the awards. Many of the recipients were wearing their Navajo Code Talkers Association regalia. Five of the original twenty- nine code talkers were still alive at the time of the ceremony. Family members represented those that had already passed. Those present were Allen June, Lloyd Oliver, Chester Nez, and John Brown, Jr. Members of Congress shared their gratitude to the code talkers with President Bush saying that these men “who, in a desperate hour, gave their country a service only they could five.”

Excerpts from the Navajo Code, Part 1; Folder 6, Box 5; History and Museums Division; Records Relating to Public Affairs; USMC Reserve and Historical Studies, 1942 – 1988; “C” Course to Wash. Daily News; Records of the US Marine Corps, Record Group 127, National Archives at College Park.

English Letter   Navaho Word        Meaning
A                       Wol-la-chee            Ant
B                        Shush                     Bear
C                       Moasi                       cat
D                          Be                         Deer
E                         Dzeh                        Elk
F                        Ma-e                        Fox
G                      Klizzie                       Goat
H                       Lin                           Horse
I                         Tkin                          Ice
J                      Tkele-cho-gi            Jackass
K                     Klizzie-yazzie              Kid
L                     Dibeh-yazzie             Lamb
M                  Na-as-tso-si               Mouse
N                   Nesh-chee                   Nut
O                   Ne-ahs-jah                  Owl
P                     Bi-so-dih                     Pig
Q                    Ca-yeilth                   Quiver
R                       Gah                         Rabbit
S                     Dibeh                        Sheep
T                    Than-zie                     Turkey
U                   No-da-ih                      Ute
V               A-keh-di-glini                Victor
W                Gloe-ih                        Weasel
X                Al-an-as-dzoh                Cross
Y                   Tsah-as-zih                 Yucca
Z                Besh-do-gliz                   Zinc

English Word           Navaho Word          Meaning
Corps                           Din-neh-ih                Clan
Switchboard               Ya-ih-e-tih-ih            Central
Dive Bomber               Gini Chicken             Hawk
Torpedo Plane            Tas-chizzie               Swallow
Observation Plane        Me-as-jah                 Owl
Fighter plane               Da-he-tih-hi        Humming Bird
Bomber                           Jay-sho                Buzzard
Alaska                              Beh-hga            With-Winter
America                        Ne-he-Mah             Our Mother
Australia                       Cha-yes-desi            Rolled Hat
Germany                  Besh-be-cha-he            Iron Hat
Philippines                Ke-yah-da-na-lhe       Floating Land

 

 

The Legacy of Master Chief Carl Brashear

This story was originally posted in January on Naval History and Heritage Command site. It was written by Phillip Brashear the son of master diver Carl Brashear. 

Throughout mankind’s history, there have been stories of individuals who have overcome extremely difficult odds in order to showcase the true strength of the human spirit with amazing results.

Carl Maxie Brashear is one of those individuals who demonstrated unyielding tenacity to overcome his circumstances only to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming a United States Navy Master Diver.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum.

My father is a true example of the American dream in the fact that whoever you are, or wherever you come from, anyone can achieve their dreams if they work hard and believe in themselves. I often say my father overcame his “Five Hurdles” to prove to the world that dreams do come true. My father overcame racism, poverty, illiteracy, physical disability, and alcoholism during his lifetime only to pass away with no malice in his heart and a feeling of accomplishment for his work.

Carl Brashear joined the military in 1948, only a few years after President Truman ruled that the military would not deter anyone from joining based on race. Even though President Truman officially desegregated the military, racism was a continued practice in society and the military. My father could only be an officer’s valet or some other menial-task person in the Navy. He joined with a limited education also. He was a seventeen year-old with an equivalent of an eighth-grade education at best. Being the son of a poor share-cropping family in rural Kentucky, his socio-economic class was an extra detriment to his success. With these obstacles already against him he still continued to press in the Navy.

One day he witnessed a diving exercise off the coast of Florida and instantly his desire was to become a Navy Diver. Of course this was unheard of during his day because the Navy would never send a minority to the Navy’s prestigious diving training. My father was not defeated by this apparent attitude of exclusion and wrote dozens of requests to enter diver training. One remarkable day, he did receive approval to attend the training, but before he was off to fulfill his dream, reality hit him in the face when he failed to qualify academically and had to wait to apply again. During his waiting period he studied and excelled in his knowledge in preparation of returning to the course. When he got the opportunity for a second chance, he was able to complete the course standards and was awarded the designation of Navy Diver despite going through a course of instruction that included death threats, isolation, name-calling and fistfights. He was the first of his race to attain that goal, but the struggles continued.

Image courtesy of the Brashear family.

 

Carl Brashear was an accomplished Navy Diver in the late 1950’s and made a name for himself as his career continued (Note: As he proved his skills as a diver, the respect fellow divers started to show him opened the door to creating bonds of friendship and inclusion with his peer group and the officers appointed over him), but in 1966, an incident occurred that would again alter my dad’s life and challenge his dreams.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum.

Two Air Force planes were practicing in-flight refueling procedures off the coast of Spain when a mid-air collision destroyed both aircraft. One of the aircraft stored nuclear weapons onboard and one of the weapons was lost at sea. My father was part of the official Navy diving operations team sent to recover the lost warhead. During shipboard operations a cable snapped and ripped across the deck of the salvage ship, severing my father’s left leg, nearly killing him on the spot.

My father would endure his massive wound, numerous blood transfusions, ship transfer in rough seas and a helicopter trip just to get him stabilized for a trip home to Virginia. It was there at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital where he decided to get the leg amputated below the knee and continue his career.

Again my father was greeted with negative attitudes and disbelief, but with strength and patience he proved once again that a belief in something greater than himself would conquer any obstacle. This was the pivotal moment that would make him an American military hero and give him world fame as he regained his Navy diving privileges as an amputee. Rising to the top of his goal as a Master Diver in the Navy in 1970 was the icing on the cake.

As the rest of my father career winded down, the constant stress of putting his family second, coupled with the many obstacles he overcame with sheer determination proved to expose a weakness in his character. He began drinking heavily and at one point drove his car off of the pier at Little Creek Naval Base in Virginia Beach. After this incident, he entered a Navy substance abuse course for alcoholism and completed it shortly before his retirement in 1979.

In November of 2000, he was honored as the subject of a major Hollywood movie, “Men of Honor” starring Cuba Gooding Jr. in the leading role as Carl Brashear. Also in the movie was Robert DeNiro, Charlize Theron, Hal Holbrook and a host of other Hollywood notables.

 

Image courtesy of the Brashear family.

 

My father has many notable tributes and honors attached to his name like the USNS Carl Brashear (TAKE-7), the Carl Brashear Conference Center at Joint Base Little Creek/Ft. Story, a special edition luxury watch from Switzerland, and a newly dedicated Veterans Center in Radcliff, Kentucky. These and many other honors recognize the remarkable achievement of a man who proved to the world that with a grain of faith, mountains can be moved!!!

Editor’s Note: Phillip Brashear is a former Chief Warrant Officer 4 and Blackhawk Maintenance Test Pilot in the Virginia Army National Guard. He is a combat veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from January 2006 through February 2007, and as part of Stabilization Force Ten in Bosnia-Herzegovina from October 2001 through April 2002.

WASHINGTON (Feb. 10. 2012) Army Chief Warrant Officer Phillip Brashear, son of Master Chief Carl Brashear, holds his father’s prosthetic leg as he speaks with a group about his fathers’ legacy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Arif Patani/Released)

Original Story link: http://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/01/16/overcoming-hurdles-the-legacy-of-master-chief-carl-brashear/?fbclid=IwAR1S9ZD7xj7haA6PEv_ILt19wmC1oDUdpzbGebv1l25xks4-qF16lscpsGs