He always looked forward to receiving the Kings Pointer, and while he knew none of the names, it did remind him of a happy time when he was much younger. While there are probably not many remaining members of his class, I would like to pass on that it was a very important part of his life and he was always so proud to say that he was a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. Thank you for your service. Shortly after that, all hell broke loose; the ship's alarm bell ringing for General Quarters. This was the bell that normally rang when the ship came under attack by U-boats!
How in hell could we be attacked while lying alongside the dock in Casablanca? We never gave the Luftwaffe a second thought as being active this far south in our area. In fact, neither the dock areas nor the city had a blackout in effect. It turned out that we were experiencing an air raid and the Germans had just dropped a pound bomb at the entrance to the phosphate dock a few hundred yards from the ship. We all got our clothes, life jackets, and tin helmets on and reported to our action stations.
Program: 44th Annual Meeting Washington, D. C. April 17–20, 1963
Nothing much was going on at my action station, which was a fire hydrant on the boat deck. The Army sentries on the dock were running around shooting out all the streetlights on the dock trying to get the area blacked out. Meanwhile, the ship was lit up like a Christmas tree! I decided to go up on the bridge to better see what was really going on. Searchlight beams from the shore-based anti-aircraft artillery were crisscrossing the skies when they suddenly picked up a German bomber in the lights.
I could see the black cross insignia on the wings, even though the plane was at high altitude. At that time, all hell broke loose with anti-aircraft fire from all the ships in the harbor firing at the plane. In fact, there was so much flak flying around that I thought it was a lot safer for me to get the hell off of the bridge and go see what was going on down in the engine room.
I was pretty sure that the Germans couldn't drop a bomb directly down our stack.
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As it turned out, the Germans didn't drop any more bombs on the harbor area, but they did drop some bombs on military targets on the other side of the city where we couldn't see them. In May , I went home from college. Our country was at war with both Germany and Japan. I was 19 years old and subject to the draft. Two close friends, Harper Evans and Howard Kenyon, were also age The three of us were together discussing our military status and options. Howard Kenyon was set on joining the Navy, and he did. Unable to reach a decision about joining Howard in the Navy or going into the US Maritime Service, I pulled out a nickel and told Harper to make the call, three out of five.
We went to the United States Maritime training base at St.
Petersburg, FL. Toward the end of our three months of basic training, a naval officer approached Harper and me and asked if we wanted to go to the United States Merchant Marine Academy and train to be officers. We did. We both served in the United States Merchant Marine until war's end and beyond.
There were three major players who represented the US on that team: our fighting forces overseas, the production army here at home, and the link between them—the US Merchant Marine.
Each was dependent upon the other. Never before has the maritime power of America been so effectively utilized. Its naval and merchant fleets became the difference between victory and defeat. Let's begin with some facts that show the vital role of the US Merchant Marine. In the 's America was ill prepared to fight a major war. President Franklin D.
He was aware that US ships, both Navy and Merchant Marine, were too few in comparison with the large military advances taking place in Hitler's Germany. He also began building ships for our Navy and the Merchant Marine. In doing so, they let the managements of Merchant Marine shipping companies continue to operate the ships but the Merchant Marine Maritime Service determined how and where the ships were used.
With the war with Japan underway, he favored the Pacific Theater and gave minimum protection to shipping in the Atlantic Theater. Roosevelt that the Allies would lose the war if Merchant Marine heavy-ship losses continued. At this point, better convoy protection was provided, including air support and it also included an aircraft carrier with large convoys to England. Ship losses continued but the tide had turned.
There were many other losses world wide caused by U-boats operated by both the Germans and Japanese. Of the 40, men who manned the German submarines, 30, were lost. I have no data on Japan. The German submarine commanders were more humane than were the Japanese commanders. After sinking a ship, the Germans might take prisoners or provide food and water for those men in lifeboats.
The Japanese took no prisoners. Further, after sinking a ship, the Japanese U-boat would surface and machine-gun those men found in the lifeboats. The United States of America operates five military academies.
The one major difference in the schooling for Cadets for the Merchant Marine from all the other academies is that the Merchant Marine Academy sends its Cadets to sea in harm's way of the country's enemies. The Merchant Marine Academy Cadet was required to have a minimum of six months ship sea duty. Of this number, 8, seamen never returned home. More than American cargo ships went to the bottom of the oceans, along with many of their crews.
An additional seamen suffered enemy prison camps.
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The numbers may be misleading versus the numbers in other US military services. Even in wartime, the US Merchant Marine manpower aboard ship was lean. Of my ship's engine room staff, there were only The total crew of staff onboard, which would include a man US Navy gun crew, was less than I just referenced a man US Navy gun crew aboard our ships. A four-inch or five-inch gun was mounted on the ship's stern.
Anti-aircraft guns were mounted on the ship's bridge deck, which were caliber or caliber guns. Magazines were installed to support the firepower. A Naval officer was in charge. Their duties were in keeping with the US Navy guidelines. They were quartered aboard and ate with the officers or crews at mealtime. During WWII, these US Navy gun crews were credited with shooting down a large number of enemy aircraft and with the sinking of one German raider ship in addition to damage to other enemy ships. Many lives were lost along with those men who were injured. I have no specific data.
As our nation's population grew, shipping on navigable waterways needed navigation guides and in due time, rules and regulations. The USCG provided these services. While much smaller in size and number than the other military forces, such as the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines, the USCG is an important and essential segment of our nation's security. They played a major role in the planning and deployment of the "D-Day" landing in France by providing the needed manpower and materiel required for the invasion to be successful. The Allied Merchant Marine ships carried this military manpower and military personnel to and from the invasion front lines.
Actually, they were the front lines that did win the war. But they gave little credit to all those who made those wins possible: for starters, the American people. The United States was ill prepared to fight major wars in the early s. The American people stepped up to the many tasks required to support and supply our military services' manpower. They also gave moral support. Also, US businesses turned to providing the much-needed military supplies, planes, guns, ships—you name it.
The US political system provided the needed leadership.
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Scientists developed the atomic bomb. This list could go on and on. Yes, the large US major military forces did win these wars, but they had a lot of help from the American people and contributing help from our Allied countries. Thus, they were not considered to be major combat services. The US Merchant Marine were involved in all major war combat beachhead landings, both in the European and Japanese theaters. The US Merchant Marine troop transport ships delivered the majority of military fighting personnel to and from these major war combat beachheads.
They also delivered service branches personnel to and from military bases. The US Merchant Marine cargo ships and fuel tankers delivered the majority of the needed arms and supplies for all the major military services. Without the shipping of military personnel and supplies to England, there would have been no "D-Day" invasion on the beachheads in France. The US Merchant Marine scuttled old ships to build a breakwater for a newly built harbor on the French shore under the code exercise called "Mulberry. It has been said: America cannot win a war or keep the peace without the Merchant Marines.https://ropdatosongtick.tk
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All US Merchant Marine ship crews volunteered for service. A copy of the accompanying certificate and statement by Admiral Buzby is attached. Dave Beere had graduated from Syracuse University in and in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Navy. He initially entered flight school, but he did not pass the vision requirements and he was directed to Kings Point.
The Goethals was the second troop carrier to arrive at Normandy. He was still working as a consultant for Matson Lines when he suffered a stroke this past January. I will be sending a picture or two later today for your consideration to include.