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CVE-76 U.S.S. SAvo Island - History

CVE-76 U.S.S. SAvo Island - History


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SAVO ISLAND, originally KAITA BAY (AVG 78), was reclassified ACV 78 on 20 August 1942 and CVE 78 on 15 July 1943; laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1115) on 27 September 1943 by Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, Wash. ; renamed SAVO ISLAND on 6 November 1943; launched on 22 December 1943; sponsored by Miss Margaret Taffinder; and commissioned on 3 February 1944, Capt. C. E. Eckstrom in command.

After shakedown at San Diego, SAVO ISLAND made two voyages to the Southwest Pacific carrying replacement aircraft between 15 March and 2 July 1944. On 6 July, her air squadron reported on board; and, after training at San Diego and Pearl Harbor, she reported to the 3rd Fleet at Pearl Harbor on 4 August.

SAVO ISLAND's first combat assignment was to provide air support for the landings on Peleliu Island in the Palaus. Between 11 and 30 September, she operated with a group of escort carriers near the island, while her planes conducted pre-invasion strafing, direct support of ground forces and patrol missions. On 3 October, she reported to the 7th Fleet at Manus, and sailed on the 12th, in the screen of the bombardment and support group of battleships and cruisers of the Leyte invasion task force.

Upon arriving on the 18th, her aircraft carried out patrols and strikes against predesignated targets, and shifted to ground support missions as the troops went ashore on the 20th. Her planes remained at the task for the next few days.

On the morning of the 25th, an escort carrier force off Samar, "Taffy 3," some 20 miles to the north reported a large enemy surface force. This turned out to be the central force in a three-pronged, Japanese naval assault on Allied forces at Leyte, consisting of 4 battleships, 6 cruisers, and many destroyers. The escorts of SAVO ISLAND's group also came under fire for about 30 minutes, as the carrier launched a total of 6 strikes in a desperate and successful effort to protect herself and the other carriers from annihilation. The Japanese retired in the face of the intense air opposition, losing three cruisers in the engagement.

During the afternoon, the American forces again came under fierce air attack, experiencing the first suicide attacks of the war. SAVO ISLAND remained off Leyte until 30 October, when she sailed for the Admiralties.

SAVO ISLAND departed Manus on 19 November and, between 22 and 27 November, served with two other escort carriers as a patrol and escort force in the convoy lanes leading to Leyte Gulf. After replenishing in Kossol Passage in the Palaus, she got underway on 10 December for her third amphibious operation, the landings on Mindanao. Once again, she covered the bombardment group during the approach and then provided direct support over the beaches until relieved by Army aircraft on 15 December. Threat of a Japanese surface raid delayed her departure until 17 December, when she sailed for Manus.

SAVO ISLAND performed similar duties during the Lingayen Gulf operation commencing 1 January 1945. During the approach, escort carrier, OMMANEY BAY (CVE 79), was sunk by a kamikaze on the 4th and another grazed SAVO ISLAND the next day. After the Lingayen landings, SAVO ISLAND's group steamed to the westward of Mindanao between 17 and 29 January, as a defense against enemy surface attack. After supporting landings near Subic Bay on the 29th and the 30th, she retired to Ulithi for repairs and replacement of her air group.

After repairs and training exercises for her new pilots, SAVO ISLAND departed Leyte with the invasion force for Okinawa, providing air cover en route. On 26 March, with two other escort carriers, she supported the occupation of Kerama Retto, which was to become the main replenishment base for the naval forces off Okinawa. The following day, her planes joined the assault on Okinawa, and flew antiaircraft and antisubmarine patrols as well. Between 7 and 16 April, she provided air cover for the replenishment group steaming to the east of Okinawa. She then resumed her support mission off Okinawa, and on 27 April carried out neutralizing strikes against Sakishima Gunto, halfway between Okinawa and Formosa. On 29 April, the carrier completed her mission and sailed for overhaul in San Diego.

On 11 July, SAVO ISLAND began a ferry voyage from San Diego to Pearl Harbor and back to Alameda, Calif. On 6 August, she sailed for the Aleutians and arrived on the day of the Japanese surrender. She departed on 31 August with a force of six escort carriers to support the occupation of northern Honshu and Hokkaido. The ship returned to Pearl Harbor on 25 September 1945, and was assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty. After picking up occupation troops at San Francisco, she made three voyages carrying troops home, one each from Guam, Pearl Harbor, and Okinawa. Released from "Magic Carpet" duty upon arrival at Seattle on 14 January 1946, she arrived at Boston, Mass., on 16 March for inactivation. The carrier was decommissioned on 12 December 1946 and assigned to the Boston group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

SAVO ISLAND was reclassified CVHE 78 on 12 June 1955 and AKV 28 on 7 May 1959. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 September 1959; sold on 29 February 1960 to Comarket, Inc. ; and broken up in Hong Kong in June 1960.

SAVO ISLAND received 4 battle stars for her World War II service. In addition, she received a Presidential Unit Citation for her service in the Western Carolines, the Philippines, and Okinawa between 6 September 1944 and 29 April 1945.


Battle of Savo Island

The Battle of Savo Island, also known as the First Battle of Savo Island and, in Japanese sources, as the First Battle of the Solomon Sea ( 第一次ソロモン海戦 , Dai-ichi-ji Soromon Kaisen) , and colloquially among Allied Guadalcanal veterans as the Battle of the Five Sitting Ducks, [4] [5] was a naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval forces. The battle took place on August 8–9, 1942, and was the first major naval engagement of the Guadalcanal campaign, and the first of several naval battles in the straits later named Ironbottom Sound, near the island of Guadalcanal.

The Imperial Japanese Navy, in response to Allied amphibious landings in the eastern Solomon Islands, mobilized a task force of seven cruisers and one destroyer under the command of Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa. The task forces sailed from Japanese bases in New Britain and New Ireland down New Georgia Sound (also known as "the Slot"), with the intention of interrupting the Allied landings by attacking the supporting amphibious fleet and its screening force. The Allied screen consisted of eight cruisers and fifteen destroyers under Rear Admiral Victor Crutchley, but only five cruisers and seven destroyers were involved in the battle. In a night action, Mikawa thoroughly surprised and routed the Allied force, sinking one Australian and three American cruisers, while suffering only light damage in return. The battle has often been cited as the worst defeat in the history of the United States Navy. [6] Rear Admiral Samuel J. Cox, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command, considers this battle and the Battle of Tassafaronga to be two of the worst defeats in U.S. naval history, second only to Pearl Harbor. [7] [8]

After the initial engagement, Mikawa, fearing Allied carrier strikes against his fleet in daylight, decided to withdraw under cover of night rather than attempt to locate and destroy the Allied invasion transports. The Japanese attacks prompted the remaining Allied warships and the amphibious force to withdraw earlier than planned (before unloading all supplies), temporarily ceding control of the seas around Guadalcanal to the Japanese. This early withdrawal of the fleet left the Allied ground forces (primarily United States Marines), which had landed on Guadalcanal and nearby islands only two days before, in a precarious situation, with limited supplies, equipment, and food to hold their beachhead.

Mikawa's decision to withdraw under cover of night rather than attempt to destroy the Allied invasion transports was primarily founded on concern over possible Allied carrier strikes against his fleet in daylight. In reality, the Allied carrier fleet, similarly fearing Japanese attack, had already withdrawn beyond operational range. This missed opportunity to cripple (rather than interrupt) the supply of Allied forces on Guadalcanal contributed to Japan's failure to recapture the island. At this critical early stage of the campaign, it allowed the Allied forces to entrench and fortify themselves sufficiently to defend the area around Henderson Field until additional Allied reinforcements arrived later in the year. [9]

The battle was the first of five costly, large-scale sea and air-sea actions fought in support of the ground battles on Guadalcanal itself, as the Japanese sought to counter the American offensive in the Pacific. These sea battles took place after increasing delays by each side to regroup and refit, until the November 30, 1942 Battle of Tassafaronga (sometimes referred to as the Fourth Battle of Savo Island or, in Japanese sources, as the Battle of Lunga Point ( ルンガ沖夜戦 ) ) – after which the Japanese, eschewing the costly losses, attempted resupplying by submarine and barges. The final naval battle, the Battle of Rennell Island (Japanese: レンネル島沖海戦), took place months later on January 29–30, 1943, by which time the Japanese were preparing to evacuate their remaining land forces and withdraw.


Task Unit 77.4.1 (Taffy I) RADM Thomas L. Sprague

COMCARDIV 22 RADM Thomas L. Sprague

USS SANGAMON (CVE-26) (Flagship) CAPT M.E. Browder
Air Group 37 LCDR S.E. Hindman
VF-37 16 F6F-3 & 5 F6F-5 LCDR S.E. Hindmman
VT-37 9 TBM-1C LCDR P.G. Farley

USS SUWANEE (CVE-27) CAPT W.D. Johnson
Air Group 60 LCDR H.O. Feilbach
VF-60 22 F6F-3 LCDR H.O. Feilbach
VT-60 9 TBM-1C LCDR W.C. Vincent

*USS CHENANGO (CVE-28) CAPT G. van Deurs
Air Group 35 LCDR F.T. Moore
VF-35 22 F6F-3 LCDR F.T. Moore
VT-35 9 TBM-1C LCDR C.F. Morgan

USS SANTEE (CVE-29) CAPT R.E. Blick
Air Group 26 LCDR H.N. Funk
VF-26 24 FM-2 LCDR H.N. Funk
VT-26 6 TBF-1C & 3 TBM-1C LCDR T.M. Bennett

*USS SAGINAW BAY (CVE-82) (Flagship) CAPT F.C. Sutton
VC-78 15 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C LCDR J.L. Hyde Jr.

USS PETROF BAY (CVE-80) CAPT J.L. Kane
VC-76 16 FM-2 & 12 TBM-1C CDR J.W. McCauley

* = Detached 1645, 24 October 1944


Contents

US 76 runs for 80.4 miles (129.4 km) across Columbus, Brunswick, and New Hanover Counties. [1] [6] The majority of US 76 in North Carolina is part of the National Highway System, a network of highways in the United States which serve strategic transportation facilities. There are two exceptions, one along Oleander Drive and Military Cutoff Road between US 421 (Third Street) and US 74 (Eastwood Road) in Wilmington, and another from the C. Heide Trask Bridge in Wrightsville Beach to the eastern termius of US 76. [7] [8]

Columbus County Edit

US 76 crosses the North Carolina–South Carolina state line between Horry County, South Carolina and Columbus County, North Carolina near Fair Bluff. US 76 continues north for approximately 1.7 miles (2.7 km) before entering into Fair Bluff. Upon reaching the town limits, the highway is named as Main Street. As US 76 approaches the Lumber River, it begins a gradual turn to the northeast which is completed before reaching NC 904. US 76 and NC 904 share a 0.4 miles (640 m) concurrency through downtown Fair Bluff. At Conway Road, NC 904 turns to the southeast and runs toward Tabor City. Exiting Fair Bluff to the east, US 76 runs parallel to a former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, [9] currently operated by the R.J. Corman Railroad Group. [10] The highway forms the northern limit of the town of Cerro Gordo, providing access to several businesses located off the highway. US 76 intersects the southern terminus of NC 242 at an intersection with Powell Street and the Haynes Gordon Highway. The highway exits the town to the east, crossing over a creek named Cerro Gordo. [1] [6]

US 76 continues east through a rural area of Columbus County toward Chadbourn. The highway briefly enters the town limits but is routed to the north of the central business area of Chadbourn. US 76 intersects US 74 Business, US 76 Business, NC 130, and NC 410 at the Joe Brown Highway. US 76 continues east for approximately one mile (one point six kilometres) before merging onto the US 74 freeway toward Wilmington. The US 74 and US 76 interchange near Chadbourn is incomplete, as there is only westbound access to US 76 and an eastbound entrance to US 74 and US 76. US 74 and US 76 begins a concurrency for 50.4 miles (81.1 km). [1] [6]

US 74 and US 76 approaches Whiteville from the west and bypasses the city to the north. A partial cloverleaf interchange with US 701 is located north of downtown Whiteville. East of Whiteville, the highway crosses the White Marsh which drains to the Waccamaw River. US 76 meets the eastern termini of US 74 Business and US 76 Business at an interchange between Whiteville and Hallsboro. The exit also provides access to the western terminus of NC 214 which begins to parallels the highway until Bolton. The highway meets Hallsboro Road at a diamond interchange north of Hallsboro. Continuing east, US 76 passes north of Lake Waccamaw. [11] The freeway ends at an at-grade intersection with Chaunceytown Road, northwest of the town of Lake Waccamaw. US 74 and US 76 continue east as a four-lane divided highway, bypassing Bolton to the north. The highway meets NC 211 at an interchange northwest of the downtown area of Bolton. Making a gradual turn to the southeast, the highway meets the eastern terminus of NC 214 at an at-grade intersection. US 74 and US 76 continues east along a rather straight alignment before meeting the southern terminus of NC 11 at an at-grade intersection. After crossing Livingston Creek, US 74 and US 76 enter the community of Delco from the east, running through the central business area. In the southeastern side of Delco, the highway meets NC 87, which runs concurrently with US 74 and US 76 to the east. [12] [6] [1]

Brunswick County Edit

US 76 enters Brunswick County 1.8 miles (2.9 km) east of Delco along with US 74 and NC 87. The highway runs slightly to the southeast, passing through the northern area of Sandy Creek. At the community of Maco, US 74 and US 76 intersects NC 87 (Maco Road) and Northwest Road at an at-grade intersection which marks the eastern end of the NC 87 concurrency. US 74 and US 76 continue to the east and near Malmo, the highway begins to parallel a railroad owned and operated by CSX Transportation. [10] East of Malmo, US 74 and US 76 meets I-140 (Wilmington Bypass) at a partial cloverleaf interchange (I-140 exit 5). [6] [1]

US 74 and US 76 have several at-grade intersections east of I-140, providing access to several businesses located alongside the highway. After Mercantile Drive, US 74 and US 76 become a freeway again. A diamond interchange is located 0.4 miles (640 m) to the east, providing access to Lanvale Road and Mount Misery Road. The freeway makes a turn to the southeast, crossing over Village Road and the railroad operated by CSX Transportation. Entering into Leland, the highway runs through a residential area, crossing over Sturgeon Creek and under Old Fayetteville Road. As the freeway approaches US 17, it begins a gradual turn to the northeast. US 74 and US 76 reaches a modified trumpet interchange with US 17 (Ocean Highway) within the gradual curve. US 17 begins to run concurrently with US 74 and US 76 to the east toward Wilmington. The highway then meets NC 133 roughly 0.6 miles (970 m) to the east at a diverging diamond interchange, providing access to the central business area of Leland and Belville. Here, NC 133 begins to run concurrently with US 17, US 74, and US 76 to the east. East of the exit, the freeway widens from four to six lanes, with three lanes in each direction. The freeway crosses the Brunswick River and Alligator Creek before meeting US 421 at a trumpet interchange. US 74 and NC 133 exit the freeway and run concurrently with US 421 to the north while US 421 merges onto the freeway and crosses the Cape Fear River along the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. [6] [1]

New Hanover County Edit

After crossing the Cape Fear River, US 17, US 76, and US 421 enters into New Hanover County. An exit for Front Street and US 421 Truck is located on the bridge's eastern approach. Immediately following the exit, the highway median widens to match with Wooster Street and Dawson Street in downtown Wilmington. The freeway ends at an at-grade intersection with Third Street where the US 421 concurrency ends and US 17 and US 76 are split onto Dawson Street (eastbound) and Wooster Street (westbound). The dual streets serve a mixture of residential and commercial businesses that are located off the highway. The two streets join back together east of 16th Street and form Oleander Drive. Turning to the southeast, Oleander Drive crosses another railroad owned and operated by CSX Transportation at an at-grade crossing. [10] US 17 and US 76 enters a residential area located between Mimosa Place and Independence Boulevard, and passes north of the Cape Fear Country Club. East of Independence Boulevard, US 76 provides access to multiple commercial businesses including Independence Mall. The road makes a slight curve between 41st Street and 42nd Street, giving US 76 a slightly more eastern orientation. [6] [1]

US 17 and US 76 meets US 117 and NC 132 at South College Road. The intersection is considered to be one of the busiest in Wilmington with an average of 70,500 cars crossing daily in 2019. [13] US 17 and US 76 continue east along Oleander Drive, paralleling Wrightsville Avenue to the south. At Greenville Loop Road, the highway turns to the north and crosses the sound on the Trooper Clarence L. Swartz Bridge. At an intersection with Wrightsville Avenue and Airlie Road, the road name changes from Oleander Drive to Military Cuttoff Road. The highway continues north for 0.6 miles (970 m) until reaching US 74 at Eastwood Road. US 76 turns east to follow US 74, while US 17 continues north along Military Cutoff Road. US 74 and US 76 run concurrently for 1.4 miles (2.3 km) toward Wrightsville Beach. The road name switches from Eastwood Road to Wrightsville Avenue at an intersection with Wrightsville Avenue. US 74 and US 76 cross the Intracoastal Waterway on the C. Heide Trask Memorial Bridge, crossing into Wrightsville Beach. The two highways briefly run concurrently along Causeway Drive, before splitting at Salisbury Street. US 76 bears to the right to continue on Causeway Drive, running through a residential area of Wrightsville Beach. The highway crosses over Banks Channel before meeting Waynick Boulevard. US 76 turns south to follow Waynick Boulevard, paralleling Banks Channel on its eastern shore. Waynick Boulevard makes a sharp turn to the east and becomes Sunset Avenue, before ending at Lumina Avenue. US 76 turns to the south to follow Lumina Avenue toward the southern side of Wrightsville Beach. At the end of Lumina Avenue, the highway makes a sharp right turn and briefly heads west along Jack Parker Boulevard. The eastern terminus of US 76 coincides with the end of Jack Parker Boulevard, located at an intersection with Water Street. [6] [1]

North Carolina Highway 202

As early as 1916, a portion of US 76 between Chadbourn and Wilmington was a thoroughfare in southeastern North Carolina. The highway between Chadbourn and the Columbus County-Brunswick County line was an unimproved road while the section in Brunswick County and New Hanover County was an improved highway. [17] Upon the creation of the North Carolina State Highway System in 1921, the highway between Chadbourn and Wrightsville Beach was numbered as part of NC 20. The segment between the South Carolina state line and Chadbourn was numbered as part of NC 202. [15] In 1924, NC 202 was an unimproved road for its entire length. Portions of NC 20 between Chadbourn and Whiteville, as well as between Bolton and Wrightsville Beach were improved roadways. [16] By 1926, the entirety of NC 20 was improved between Chadbourn and Wrightsville Beach. [18]

Upon the creation of the United States Numbered Highway System, US 76 was routed between Chattanooga, Tennessee and Florence, South Carolina. US 17 followed NC 20 west of Wilmington to Chadbourn and then followed NC 202 to the South Carolina state line. In South Carolina, US 17 then continued west to Florence where it met US 76. [19] By 1929, US 17/NC 202 was improved west of Chadbourn, creating an improved road between Wilmington and South Carolina. [14] In 1935, US 17 was rerouted to replace US 117 between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. The route between Florence and Wilmington was subsequently renumbered as US 76. US 76 also replaced NC 20 between Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. Both NC 20 and NC 202 were decommissioned in 1934, in favor of overlapping US Highways. [2] [3]

When first established in 1935, US 76 followed its modern-day routing between the South Carolina state line and Chadbourn. At Chadbourn it met US 74 and both highways followed modern-day US 74 Business and US 76 Business through Chadbourn and Whiteville. US 74 and US 76 then followed NC 214 through the towns of Lake Waccamaw and Bolton. East of Bolton, US 76 followed much of its modern-day routing until Leland. In western Leland, the road followed Fletcher Road and Village Road. After Leland School Road, the highway continued straight onto Post Office Road and then made a turn to the southeast along Lincoln Road. The highway then continued to follow Village Road, crossing the Brunswick River south of the modern-day bridge. [20] US 74 and US 76 turned to the north at modern-day US 421, utilizing the Isabel Holmes Bridge to cross the Northeast Cape Fear River. In Downtown Wilmington US 76 used Third Street, Market Street, and 17th Street until reaching Oleander Street (modern-day Oleander Drive). [21] US 76 followed Oleander Street until Airlie Road, which it followed to Wrightsville Beach. After crossing onto Harbor Island, US 74 and US 76 used Causeway Drive and then followed Lumina Avenue to the north. [3] [22]

In 1936, US 74 and US 76 were adjusted in Leland, using a curve along Village Road to avoid an intersection with Lincoln Road and Post Office Road. [3] [20] The abandoned route, roughly 0.14 miles (230 m) [23] became US 74-A. By 1942, US 76 was removed from its routing along Lumina Avenue north of Causeway Drive in Wrightsville Beach. [24] [25] Instead, the highway was routed south, along Waynick Boulevard, Sunset Avenue, and South Lumina Avenue to end on the south side of Wrightsville Beach. [26] Between 1957 and 1962, US 76 was removed from Airlie Road between Oleander Drive and Wrightsville Avenue. The highway was rerouted north along Oleander Drive to Wrightsville Avenue. It then followed Wrightville Avenue to Wrightsville Beach where the roadname changed to Causeway Drive. [21] [27] In 1966, US 76 was placed onto split one-way streets along part of its routing in downtown Wilmington. The westbound lanes continued to use 17th Street between Dawson Street and Market Street, while the eastbound lanes were shifted to use 16th Street and Dawson Street. [28] [29]

The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge was completed in 1969, providing a second bridge into the city of Wilmington. On September 11, 1969, US 76 was rerouted across the bridge, abandoning its former alignment along US 421 and the Isabel Holmes Bridge. US 76 was then placed along split one-way streets along Dawson Street and Wooster Street before meeting Oleander Drive. This alignment reflects the modern-day routing of US 76 through downtown Wilmington. [30] In March 1975, US 76 was extended for 0.10 miles (160 m) to the south in Wrightsville Beach. This extension brought the highway to its current eastern terminus. [31] In September 1975, US 76 was placed onto several bypasses west of Wilmington. In Brunswick County, US 76 was placed on a bypass of Leland and Belville from 0.61 miles (980 m) west of Mount Misery Road and Lanvale Road to NC 133. In Columbus County, US 76 was placed on its current routing between US 74 Business and US 76 Business north of Chadbourn and US 74. US 76 was then placed along the US 74 and US 76 freeway until Union Valley Road. Union Valley Road was designated as Temporary US 74 and Temporary US 76 between the freeway and modern-day US 74 Business and US 76 Business. [32] The bypass around Whiteville to US 74 Business and US 76 Business was completed in February 1976. [33] In January 1978, US 17, US 74, US 76, and NC 133 were adjusted along the modern-day freeway from NC 133 across the Brunswick River. [34] The freeway around Whiteville was extended east in October 1986, bypassing the towns of Lake Waccamaw and Hallsboro. [35] The freeway was extended further east, bypassing Bolton in July 1993. The former alignment of US 74 and US 76 became part of NC 214. [36] The final readjustment of US 76 occurred in 2003, when it was removed from Wrightsville Avenue between Oleander Drive and Eastwood Road. US 76 was rerouted to continue north along Military Cutoff Road before heading east along Eastwood Road to Wrightsville Beach. [37]

Since the 1990s, there have been several attempts to convert at least portions of US 76 to an Interstate Highway. In 2003, North Carolina began exploring the possibility of extending Interstate 20 (I-20) from Florence, South Carolina to Wilmington using the US 76 corridor. [38] The extension was proposed to run along a new route between the South Carolina state line and Chadbourn. In Chadbourn, it would have used US 74 and US 76 to Wilmington. [39] The plan has largely been abandoned by the state, and does not appear on the 2015 Strategic Transportation Corridors of North Carolina. [40] A current proposal is to extend I-74 from Lumberton to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I-74 is slated to continue along US 74 and US 76 between Chadbourn and Bolton. Consistent with this plan, several upgrades have taken place along this section of highway. A project to convert an at-grade intersection at NC 211 near Bolton to an interchange was completed in 2012. [41] A $9.4 million project to replace an at-grade intersection at Hallsboro Road with an interchange began on August 6, 2018. [42] The diamond interchange was completed on June 12, 2020, extending the US 74 and US 76 freeway to the east. [43]

A feasibility study conducted for the eastward extension of Interstate 74 (I-74) in 2005 found two alternatives for the Interstate. Both alternatives followed US 76 from Chadbourn to an area west of Bolton. West of Bolton, I-74 would split from US 74 and US 76 to turn to the south, roughly following NC 211. [44] Consistent with this plan, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) plans to build a dumbbell interchange at Chaunceytown Road, north of the town of Lake Waccamaw. The project would also include a flyover for Old Lake Road to the east. [45] Once completed, US 76 will be a continuous freeway between US 74 near Chadbourn and Blacksmith Road north of Bolton. The $31.7 million project is expected to begin construction in 2022. [46] An additional interchange at NC 87 in Maco has been proposed by the Cape Fear Council of Governments. The project is projected to cost $11.7 million and would begin construction in 2027. [46]

NCDOT and the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO) are currently planning three projects for US 76 in Wilmington. Project U-5710 would construct an interchange to replace the current at-grade intersection between Military Cutoff Road and Eastwood Road in Wilmington. The new interchange would utilize an extended Drysdale Drive and Commonwealth Drive along with several ramps. While US 76 east would utilize a ramp, US 76 west is expected to utilize the extended Drysdale Drive and a portion of Military Cutoff Road north of the intersection. [47] The project is expected to begin construction in 2023. [48] [49] An additional project (U-5704) would either upgrade the intersection or create an interchange at Oleander Drive and College Road. The project is expected to begin construction in 2030. [49] A third project would improve the intersection between Oleander Drive and Greenville Loop Road/Greenville Avenue. This includes installing dual left-turn lanes at the intersection. Right of way acquisition is expected to begin in 2029. [49]

NCDOT is also proposing two potential bridge replacements along US 76 in New Hanover County. A feasibility study to replace the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge in Wilmington identified four potential replacements. Two proposals involve the construction of a new vertical-lift bridge, while two others detail a fixed-span bridge. One vertical-lift bridge proposal involves including a railroad alongside the highway. [50] NCDOT also completed a draft feasibility study to replace the C. Heide Trask Memorial Bridge in Wrightsville Beach. The study details five options, with three drawbridge configurations and two high-rise bridge configurations. All study options seek to improve the adjacent US 74 and US 76 split in Wrightsville Beach. Four options detail replacing the current design with a roundabout, while one would upgrade the current design. The bridge is expected to reach the end of its design lifespan in 2042. [51]

CountyLocationmi [1] km DestinationsNotes
Columbus0.00.0 US 76 west – Marion, FlorenceContinuation into South Carolina
Fair Bluff2.94.7 NC 904 west – RowlandWest end of NC 904 overlap
3.35.3 NC 904 east (Conway Road) – Tabor CityEast end of NC 904 overlap
Cerro Gordo9.515.3 NC 242 north (Haynes Lennon Highway) – BladenboroSouthern terminus of NC 242
Chadbourn15.324.6
US 74 Bus. east / US 76 Bus. east
NC 130 / NC 410 (Joe Brown Highway) – Bladenboro, Tabor City
Western terminus of US 74 Business and US 76 Business
16.526.6 US 74 west – LumbertonWest end of US 74 overlap, eastbound exit and westbound entrance
19.331.1Union Valley Road – Union Valley
Whiteville22.235.7 US 701 – Whiteville, Clarkton
25.140.4
US 74 Bus. west / US 76 Bus. west to NC 214 – Whiteville
Eastern terminus of US 74 Business and US 76 Business
Hallsboro28.746.2Hallsboro Road
Bolton39.263.1 NC 211 – Clarkton, Bolton, Supply
42.768.7 NC 214 west – Bolton, Lake WaccamawEastern terminus of NC 214
Freeman46.975.5 NC 11 north (General Howe Road) – BurgawSouthern terminus of NC 11
Delco51.382.6 NC 87 north (Old Stage Road) – Riegelwood, ElizabethtownWest end of NC 87 overlap
BrunswickMaco55.889.8 NC 87 south / Northwest Road – Southport, NorthwestEast end of NC 87 overlap
Leland59.796.1 I-140 – Jacksonville, Myrtle BeachExit 5 (I-140) Partial cloverleaf interchange
61.098.2Mount Misery Road/Lanvale Road – LelandDiamond interchange
64.4103.6 US 17 south – Shallotte, Myrtle BeachWest end of US 17 overlap trumpet interchange
65.5105.4 NC 133 south – Leland, Belville, Southport, Oak IslandWest end of NC 133 overlap diverging diamond interchange
67.5108.6 US 74 east / US 421 / NC 133 north – Wrightsville Beach, JacksonvilleTrumpet interchange east end of US 74 and NC 133 overlaps west end of US 421 overlap to USS North Carolina via. USS North Carolina Road
Cape Fear River67.7109.0Cape Fear Memorial Bridge
New HanoverWilmington68.3109.9
US 421 Truck south / Front Street
Northern terminus of US 421 Truck no westbound exit
68.5110.2
US 421 south / US 17 Bus. north (3rd Street) – Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Downtown Wilmington
East end of US 421 overlap western terminus of US 17 Business to North Carolina Aquarium and Fort Fisher State Park
72.1116.0 US 117 / NC 132 (College Road) – Carolina Beach, UNC WilmingtonTo State Port
76.3122.8 US 17 north (Military Cutoff Road) / US 74 west (Eastwood Road) – JacksonvilleEast end of US 17 and west end of US 74 overlap
Intracoastal Waterway77.4124.6C. Heide Trask Memorial Bridge
Wrightsville Beach77.7125.0 US 74 east (Salisbury Street)East end of US 74 overlap
80.4129.4Water StreetEastern terminus to Coast Guard Station
1.000 mi = 1.609 km 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Chadbourn–Whiteville business loop Edit

U.S. Route 76 Business (US 76 Business) is a business route of US 76 running through Chadbourn and Whiteville. The highway runs for 10.4 miles (16.7 km) from US 76 north of Chadbourn to US 74 and US 76 northeast of Whiteville. [52] US 76 Business is completely concurrent with US 74 Business. It also shares concurrencies with both NC 130 and NC 410 along portions of its route. US 76 Business was established on February 1, 1976 when US 76 was rerouted along a new bypass north of both Chadbourn and Whiteville. [53] Accordingly, the highway follows the original alignment of US 76 through Chadbourn and Whiteville. A roundabout intersection with US 701 Business surrounds the Columbus County Courthouse which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [52]

US 76 Business begins at an intersection with US 76, US 74 Business, NC 130, and NC 410 north of Chadbourn. From its terminus, US 76 Business travels south along Brown Street for 0.3 miles (480 m). At Strawberry Avenue, US 76 Business, US 74 Business, and NC 130 turn to follow the road to the southeast. NC 410 continues south along Brown Street toward downtown Chadbourn and Tabor City. US 76 Business between Brown Street and Elm Street is a four-lane undivided road. After intersecting Elm Street, the road narrows to a two-lane facility while following Strawberry Avenue in northern Chadbourn. Between Chadbourn and Whiteville, the highway is mostly rural. US 76 Business provides access to Southeastern Community College, located east of Chadbourn. The highway also intersects Union Valley Road and Midway Road, providing access to US 74 and US 76. US 76 Business enters Whiteville from the west, utilizing Washington Street. After Barbcrest Avenue, the road briefly widens to a four-lane undivided road, before narrowing to a three-lane road with two eastbound lanes and one westbound lane. The highway intersects US 701 (JK Powell Boulevard) west of downtown Whiteville. The intersection marks the eastern end of the NC 130 concurrency, as the highway follows US 701 to the south. In downtown Whiteville, US 76 Business intersects US 701 Business at a roundabout surrounding the Columbus County Courthouse. US 76 Business continues east along Jefferson Street, exiting the town limits. Shortly before its eastern terminus, the highway widens to a four-lane road and intersects NC 214. The highway continues for 0.1 miles (160 m) until reaching its eastern terminus at a US 74 and US 76. [52]

Chadbourn temporary route Edit

U.S. Route 76 Temporary (US 76 Temporary) was a 0.4 miles (640 m) temporary route along Union Valley Road between US 74 and US 76 and US 74, US 76, and NC 130 (Chadbourn Highway). The western terminus of US 76 Temporary was at the US 74 and US 76 freeway which bypassed Chadbourn. The highway ran in a southwest-northeast direction along Union Valley Road. Its eastern terminus was located at US 74, US 76, and NC 130. This was the former alignment of US 74 and US 76 which connected Chadbourn and Whiteville. US 76 Temporary ran concurrently with US 74 Temporary along its entire route. [54]

US 76 Temporary was established on September 1, 1975 to link the newly constructed US 74 and US 76 freeway bypassing Chadbourn and the US 74 and US 76 alignment through Whiteville. [32] The highway lasted for six months while construction the freeway around Whiteville was completed. Upon the completion of the freeway on February 1, 1976, US 76 Temporary was decommissioned. The former alignment of US 74 and US 76 through Chadbourn and Whiteville became US 74 Business and US 76 Business. [33]


CVE-76 U.S.S. SAvo Island - History

By John Domagalski

Admiral Ernest King could not believe what he was reading. The graying 63-year-old chief of U.S. naval operations had been awoken from his sleep. An overdue message from the Guadalcanal battle zone had finally arrived at his headquarters during the early morning hours of August 12, 1942. It was three days after the sinking of the USS Astoria.

In showing King the memo, Captain George Russell simply said, “It isn’t good.” A naval battle had taken place off Savo Island near Guadalcanal. The American warships guarding the approaches to the landing zone on the island’s beaches had been surprised at night by a Japanese naval force. Four Allied heavy cruisers had been sunk. The nearby troop transports, still unloading precious supplies, were not harmed. However, they were being pulled back due to the imminent threat of additional attacks.

King would later consider the Savo Island battle the low point of the war. He said, “That, as far as I am concerned, was the blackest day of the war. The whole future then became unpredictable.” The last of the four cruisers to go down was the USS Astoria (CA-34). (You can more about the events of Guadalcanal and the Pacific Theater inside the pages of WWII History magazine.)

The History of the USS Astoria

Launched at the Puget Sound Navy Yard on December 16, 1933, the Astoria was the second ship of the New Orleans class of heavy cruisers. Among the last group of cruisers designed to be within the guidelines of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, the New Orleans class emphasized protection. Although slightly smaller than previous classes of “treaty cruisers,” the New Orleans ships featured thicker belts of side armor, increased protection around the magazine areas, and stronger deck armor. The Astoria as built had a main battery of nine 8-inch guns mounted in three turrets. Secondary armament consisted of eight 5-inch single-mount guns placed roughly amidships, four to a side, and eight machine guns. Wartime brought the addition of an assortment of antiaircraft guns mounted at various points around the ship.

The Astoria was no stranger to action prior to her participation in the Guadalcanal operation. She began the war cruising with the carrier Lexington on a mission to deliver planes to Midway Island. The task force was located about 420 miles southeast of Midway when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Subsequent months saw the Astoria involved primarily in carrier escort duties. She participated in the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway. During the latter battle, she briefly served as the flagship for Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher after the carrier Yorktown was abandoned. By late summer the Astoria was under the command of Captain William Garrett Greenman. The 53-year-old Greenman had taken over as the commanding officer of the cruiser on June 14, 1942.

Early August meant an exhausting stretch of long and difficult days for the crewmen aboard the Astoria. Since departing Koro Island in the Fijis on July 31, the crew had been in an almost constant state of readiness. The United States Navy was now on the offensive in the eight- month-old war with Japan, and the Astoria was in the thick of it. Since the landing of the Marines near Lunga Point on Guadalcanal and the smaller nearby island of Tulagi on the morning of August 7, the Astoria had helped fight off two Japanese air attacks and stood guard duty covering the approaches to the landing zone. More of the same routine was expected in the days to come.

Upon the initial approach to Guadalcanal, the Astoria had operated with her sister ships Vincennes and Quincy as part of a fire support group designated Task Group 62.3. When the fire support role ended, the cruisers became part of a larger screening group. Under the command of British Rear Admiral V.A. Crutchley aboard the cruiser Australia, the operations of the screening group centered on protecting the transport ships. Positioned off the landing zone, these were the ships that carried the Marines, equipment, and supplies that made up the invasion force. Their survival was vital to the success of the Guadalcanal operation.

This rare color photo shows the cruiser USS Quincy at Noumea, New Caledonia, on August 3, 1942, just four days prior to the U.S. invation of Guadalcanal.

During daylight hours the cruisers took up antiaircraft positions in close proximity to the transports. In the evening, the screening group guarded the sea approaches to the landing zone against the possibility of an attack by Japanese surface forces. To cover all possible points of entry to the area, Crutchley divided his screening force cruisers into three main groups each was originally designated a name based on the lead cruiser of the formation.

Patrolling south and east of Savo Island, the Australia group comprised the heavy cruisers Australia, Canberra, and Chicago. The Australia group later became known as the south group of cruisers. The Vincennes group, later known as the north group, contained the Astoria and Quincy in addition to the name ship. Under the command of Captain Fredrick L. Riefkohl of the Vincennes, this group covered the east to west distance between Savo Island and Florida Island. Covering the eastern approaches to the landing zone were the light cruisers San Juan and Hobart. The latter area was deemed by Allied commanders as the least likely avenue for a Japanese surface attack. Each cruiser group was screened by two destroyers with additional radar-equipped picket destroyers stationed beyond the approaches.

The Night Watch

The night of August 8 began much like the previous night. At twilight the Astoria moved out of her daytime antiaircraft position and into her preassigned evening patrol area as part of the north group of cruisers. She took up position as the last ship in the column of cruisers about 600 yards directly behind the Quincy. The destroyer Helm was positioned 1,500 yards off the port bow of the lead cruiser, Vincennes. The destroyer Wilson occupied a similar position off the lead cruiser’s starboard bow.

The group patrolled the perimeter of a box that was roughly five miles per side. Turning 90 degrees in column to the right every 30 minutes, the group cruised at a speed of 10 knots, making the appropriate adjustments in time and speed to execute the corner turns as scheduled. Just before midnight rain squalls over Savo Island began to slowly move to the southeast, ultimately ending up between the north and south groups of patrolling cruisers.

The Astoria stood at condition of readiness two. Under this arrangement, normally used when the possibility of a surprise attack existed, the crew stood alternate watches of four hours’ duration. Two guns in each of the cruiser’s three 8-inch main turrets were manned. All nine guns were loaded with shells but were not primed. Lookouts scanned the horizon for enemy submarines, which were reported to be operating in the area. Captain Greenman was aware that a group of Japanese surface ships had been sighted earlier in the day some 400 miles away in the vicinity of Bougainville Island. Surely the picket destroyers or the south group of cruisers would sound an early alarm if and when the enemy surface ships arrived in the area.

The stroke of midnight ushered in the start of a new day—Sunday, August 9, 1942. The 12 to 4 am mid-watch had just begun aboard the Astoria. Men coming on watch settled into their positions across the cruiser. Weary sailors coming off watch set out for a brief four hours of rest before rotating back on duty.

Among those coming off watch was Seaman 2nd Class Norman Miller. He went below for a quick shower. Unable to sleep in his bunk, he decided to go topside. This was not unusual given the hot conditions that existed below deck. He ended up lying down on some life jackets near the 20mm guns that were located just above turret number three.

Lieutenant Commander J.R. Topper had begun his watch on the bridge as the supervisory officer of the deck just prior to midnight. A few minutes later Lieutenant (j.g.) N.A. Burkey, Jr., assumed his watch as officer of the deck. Among other sailors taking up their watch positions on the bridge were Quartermaster 2nd Class Royal Radke and Seaman 2nd Class Don Yeamans. Aboard the Astoria since June 1941, Yeamans was part of the quartermaster crew. Radke would serve as the lead quartermaster for the watch. Captain Greenman retired, fully dressed, to his emergency cabin located immediately adjacent to the pilot house.

Above the bridge, Seaman 1st Class Lynn Hager arrived for his watch at sky control. He put on his headset and tuned into the JV communications circuit. His first order of business was to test communications to the bridge. Everything appeared to be working properly. From the bridge came the following request: “Keep a sharp lookout on our own formation and all around.” He then moved over to his lookout station on the starboard side next to the 1.1-inch gun director, adjusted his binoculars, and began to search the horizon.

Deep below the main deck, Ralph Boone began his watch in the after engine room. The Machinist Mate 2nd Class had been aboard the Astoria since May 1940. He knew the ship well and soon went about his duties of conducting routine maintenance. In all parts of the ship, the men on watch went about their duties unaware that disaster lay less than two hours ahead.

Mikawa’s Bold Counterattack

The events that would lead to disaster for the men of the Astoria began to take shape shortly after the Japanese had learned of the American landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi. At about 2:30 pm on August 7, the Japanese heavy cruiser Chokai sortied from Simpson Harbor, Rabaul. Aboard was Rear Admiral Gunichi Mikawa, the commander of the newly formed Eighth Fleet. From the bridge of his flagship, Mikawa would personally lead an audacious counterattack. The bold plan called for a surprise night attack against American shipping in the Guadalcanal area about 675 miles southeast of Rabaul.

Mikawa had assembled a powerful force of five heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and a single destroyer. The attack force would enter the Guadalcanal area on the south side of Savo Island and move east to attack American shipping before departing the area by traveling north between Florida and Savo Islands. The journey south from Rabaul would take the Japanese force to the east of Bougainville and then southeast through a narrow passage in the Central Solomons known as “The Slot” that led directly to Guadalcanal. By the afternoon of August 8, the force had passed to the northeast of New Georgia on its final approach to Guadalcanal.

Surprised by a strong Japanese naval force less than a week after American Marines had landed on Guadalcanal , four Allied cruisers were lost in the debacle of the Battle of Savo Island.

With scout planes launched in advance to reconnoiter the Guadalcanal area, the Japanese approached Savo Island at a high rate of speed. The scout planes reported the approximate positions of the two Allied cruiser forces positioned around Savo Island as well as the disposition of the transports. Just after 1 am on August 9, the force passed undetected near the destroyer USS Blue stationed northwest of Savo Island. Both radar and lookouts failed to spot the Japanese ships as they moved through the south passage around Savo and directly toward the south cruiser force. By this time Admiral Crutchley had already departed the area with the Australia for an urgent meeting of commanders off the landing zone.

“Strange Ships Entering the Harbor”

In a series of events that occurred in rapid succession, the Japanese force approached and surprised the unsuspecting cruisers on patrol southeast of Savo Island. Among the first American ships to sight the approaching Japanese was the destroyer Patterson. She immediately sent an emergency message over TBS (Talk Between Ships) radio, “Warning! Warning! Strange Ships Entering Harbor!” It was 1:46 am. Almost immediately, Japanese float planes dropped bright flares in the vicinity of the transports off Lunga Point, illuminating the cruisers Canberra and Chicago.

Then, the shooting started. Hit 24 times in less than five minutes, the Canberra was quickly turned into a blazing inferno. The Chicago, hit by a torpedo in the bow, failed to make contact with the Japanese cruisers as they sped past. Captain Howard Bode of the Chicago, left in charge of the south force by Crutchley, failed to send out a warning to Captain Riefkohl aboard the Vincennes.

At the approximate time of the Patterson’s warning message, Astoria’s Officer of the Deck Burkey was acknowledging a course change from the Vincennes over TBS radio. The cruiser group was turning slightly off schedule. As a result, the Patterson’s warning message was not received. A few minutes later Lt. Cmdr. Topper felt what he thought was a distant underwater explosion. Although he attributed it to a destroyer dropping depth charges, the noise was most likely torpedoes from the Japanese battle with the southern cruisers. Captain Greenman was not notified and remained asleep in his emergency cabin.

Rear Admiral Gunichi Mikawa commanded the Japanese Eighth Fleet, which held the upper hand throughout the Battle of Savo Island.

Lieutenant Topper was not the only one to hear underwater noises. In the after engine room, Machinist Mate Boone was in the process of checking the shaft alleys. The task, considered routine maintenance, was done to ensure that the shafts were properly turning. Boone suddenly heard strange noises in the water. He thought that there were problems with the shafts and immediately reported the sounds to the chief machinist mate who was in charge of the engine room. The chief promptly told him to check the shafts again.

At sky control, Seaman 1st Class Hager heard the distant sound of an airplane. Other lookouts soon reported hearing planes overhead. Hager twice reported this information to the bridge, and the latter report occurred at about 1:30 am. Lieutenant Arthur McLaughlin, the officer in charge of the six-man watch on duty at sky control, ordered sky forward and sky aft to keep a sharp lookout.

Upon hearing the reports of planes overhead, Topper immediately went to the starboard side of the bridge. Listening intently he could hear only the sound of the blowers that were located right behind turret one. He then went to the starboard window of the pilot house and looked forward and to the right. Nothing seemed amiss with the other ships in the formation.

Surprising the Allied Formation

The first indication that something was wrong appeared a short time later. Lynn Hager sighted a string of four or five flares from his post at sky control. He estimated the distance was 5,000 yards from the Astoria. A relative bearing of 180 degrees put the flares off the Astoria’s stern. Hager believed that the flares had been dropped from planes, and he reported his sighting to the bridge. At first the flares did not seem to be burning very well as they hung in the misty atmosphere. However, after lowering a short distance, the flares soon began to burn brightly. Lieutenant McLaughlin ordered Hager to report to the bridge the need to sound general quarters.

At about the time Hager’s report of flares reached the bridge, Topper yelled for Burkey to call the captain and stand by to sound general quarters. He then ran out the portside door of the pilot house and identified a string of four aircraft flares about 5,000 yards off the port quarter. It was about 1:50 am.

The gunnery department sprang into action at the first sight of the flares. Gunnery Officer Lt. Cmdr. William Truesdell, saw the flares just as a lookout reported the sighting of three Japanese cruisers. He immediately ordered all of the remaining main battery guns loaded and then requested the officer of the deck to sound general quarters. Sighting information was already flowing into the main battery plotting room where Lieutenant (j.g.) Dante Marzetta and his men were quickly calculating a firing solution. The enemy cruisers were thought to be 5,500 yards away at a target angle of 315 degrees.

The Japanese cruisers, speeding northwest toward the Vincennes group, had their guns aimed at the American cruisers as early as 1:47 am. Lookouts aboard the Chokai could clearly see that the last ship of the American column, the Astoria, did not have her main battery turrets trained in battle positions. To the Japanese it appeared that the northern force of cruisers would also be surprised. With the command to commence firing given at 1:50 am, the Chokai immediately switched on her searchlight, illuminating the Astoria at a distance of 7,800 yards.

The Opening Shots

Within seconds the Japanese flagship’s first main battery salvo fell off the Astoria’s port bow, short and to the left. Following the lead of their flagship, other Japanese cruisers similarly opened fire against the Quincy and Yorktown. Less than two minutes later the Chokai’s second main battery salvo fell off the Astoria’s port side.

By this time Gunnery Officer Truesdell had requested permission to open fire. When no reply came from the bridge, he gave the order himself at about 1:53 am. The Astoria suddenly shook from the blast of an eight- or nine-gun salvo. Directed at the Chokai, all shots missed.

Captain Samuel N. Moor commanded the USS Quincy during the Guadalcanal operations.

Confusion reigned aboard the bridge of the Astoria as the key officers of the watch were initially unaware that enemy cruisers had been sighted. Officer of the Deck Burkey, on the TBS with the Yorktown acknowledging a planned course change, had not carried out Topper’s request to call the captain. Quartermaster Radke observed a distant ship opening fire and immediately pulled the general quarters alarm without having the orders to do so. Noticing the absence of the captain, the junior officer of the deck, Lieutenant (j.g.) John Mullen rushed to get Greenman.

The fourth main battery salvo left the Chokai at about 1:53 am as the cruiser was almost 6,800 yards from the Astoria. Falling about 500 yards short, the salvo was correct in deflection. The Japanese gunners were close to having the Astoria’s number.

The USS Astoria Losing Guns

With the general alarm sounding, Captain Greenman entered the pilot house just as the main battery fired. Trying to grasp the situation at hand, he noted the flares in the distance and his ship being illuminated by a searchlight. He immediately questioned Topper, “Who sounded the general alarm? Who gave the order to commence firing?” Topper replied that he had not given either order. Concerned that the Astoria was firing on friendly ships, Greenman gave the order to cease fire. Truesdell immediately informed the bridge that he was firing at Japanese cruisers.

The gunnery officer requested urgent permission to resume fire. Captain Greenman looked up to see a salvo straddle the Vincennes off in the distance. Less than a minute later he saw the Chokai’s fourth salvo fall just short of the Astoria. He immediately gave the orders to sound general quarters and open fire. Greenman then ordered the ship to full speed and turned the Astoria slightly to port to better position her in relation to the targets and to keep clear of Quincy’s firing line.

The general quarters alarm sent sailors scurrying about the Astoria heading to their assigned battle stations. Men seemed to be racing in all directions on and around the bridge. Royal Radke stayed on the bridge as lead quartermaster, while Topper went to central station. Don Yeamans was in position on the port side pelorus, an extended point out from the bridge, with his headset tuned into the JV circuit. From his vantage point he observed the confusion on the bridge as the battle started.

He recalled, “Everyone was running around like the devil.” He turned to look out to sea. “I could see something on fire off in the distance.” The flames were likely the burning Canberra, whose men had already endured what the Astoria’s crew was about to experience. Also rushing to his bridge battle station was Ensign Thomas Ferneding. Aboard the Astoria for less than a year, Ferneding served as the cruiser’s signal officer.

The USS Astoria fires its 8-inch guns during gunnery practice off Hawaii in July 1942. Within minutes of meeting the Japanese off Savo Island, the Astoria was in flames.

At about 1:55 am, the Chokai’s fifth salvo hit the Astoria amidships, scoring at least four direct hits with 8-inch armor-piercing shells. The hits started fires on the boat deck and in the hangar area. The cruiser’s seaplanes, fully fueled in anticipation of an early morning launch, were quickly set aflame. The fires served as a target for Japanese gunners, who no longer needed the aid of searchlights.

The Astoria returned fire with a six-gun salvo. Fired from the two forward turrets, the shells fell short of their intended target. The two forward turrets now reached the limit of their turning radius on the port side and could no longer be brought to bear on the lead Japanese cruiser. The U.S. cruiser could now only return fire with turret three, which had temporarily lost power. A turn would later correct the situation and shift the firing to the starboard side.

Shortly after the Astoria fired her salvo, turret one was hit three times. Most likely coming from the same 8-inch salvo, one shell pierced the face plate while the two remaining shells hit the barbette. All personnel within the turret and barbette were killed. Another turn of the cruiser allowed her only available turret, number two, to fire its two guns.

“There was Just a Steel Wall Between Us”

The Astoria now came under extremely concentrated fire as additional Japanese cruisers directed their guns upon her. During a six-minute stretch beginning at 2 am, the Astoria was hit time after time by shells both large and small. During the onslaught the forward engine room was filled with smoke from a hit above and had to be abandoned. The number one fireroom was hit and all occupants killed. The main fire risers were severed, cutting off the water supply needed to fight the now raging fires amidships. An 8-inch shell pierced the protective shield around the number eight 5-inch secondary gun on the port side, hitting the ready service ammunition box and blowing a large hole in the deck. The fire in the hangar area now burned out of control. Most of the secondary 5-inch batteries eventually fell silent, with the majority of their crews killed at their battle stations.

During the hail of gunfire, a direct hit on the chart house killed the Astoria’s navigator, William Guy Eaton. The 42-year-old lieutenant commander was most likely killed instantly. Also felled in the same blast was Chief Quartermaster Leo Brom. The shell had hit just inside Don Yeamans’s position at the port side pelorus. “There was just a steel wall between us,” he recalled of the area. The force of the blast knocked him off his feet and ruptured his eardrums. The next thing he knew, two sailors were helping him up off the deck asking if he was okay.

Treating Casualties Under Fire

Ralph Boone never completed his routine maintenance. He was just about to start his second check of the shaft alleys when general quarters sounded. “I grabbed my lifejacket and flashlight,” Boone recalled as he raced to his battle station. At general quarters he would become part of a repair party that assembled in the mess hall. The room was located right above the after engine room.

Shortly after he arrived on station, the mess hall was hit by a Japanese shell. It caused a tremendous explosion and started a fire. Boone was not injured, but others around him were not so fortunate. Another machinist mate, A.L. McCann, was seriously wounded in the foot and ankle. Boone called out for a first aid kit. Ensign Hugh Davis immediately appeared with one in hand.

“I was preparing to put on a tourniquet when another shell hit nearby and destroyed the first aid kit,” said Boone, who decided to carry the wounded man to the after battle dressing area where he could receive better treatment. Passing through the crew quarters, he was stopped by Water Tender 2nd Class W.T. Duffy who had been on the JV phone. Duffy informed Boone that the after battle dressing area had been hit and was on fire. Unsure of what to do next, Boone gently laid McCann down into a bunk bed. He was soon recruited to help plug a shell hole one deck below and never saw the wounded man again.

In his position above the hangar, Seaman 2nd Class Miller had been seriously wounded in both legs. He was just about to fall asleep when the battle started. To escape his precarious position he was lowered by rope to the top of turret number three. Shortly thereafter, he was pushed off the turret and onto the main deck. With a life jacket on, he was lowered by rope into the water. Sometime later he was pulled aboard a life raft and was eventually picked up by a destroyer.

The Last Shots of the Astoria

The situation aboard the Astoria was getting worse. Throughout the stricken cruiser, a grisly scene was being repeated. Wounded men were clinging to life. Some had been badly burned, while others were missing limbs. The deck was slick with blood.

The bridge personnel still had control of both steering and engines. Communications lines were still open with central station, which was believed to be intact. There were no major fires reported below the main deck. However, the ship was on fire amidships, turret one was out, and most of the secondary gun batteries had been silenced. At about this time the engineering officer reported to the captain that there was serious trouble in the boiler rooms and that the ship had begun to lose power.

At this juncture the starboard side of the Astoria’s bridge was raked by gunfire, most likely from the heavy cruiser Kako. Among the bridge personnel who went down was the helmsman, Quartermaster 1st Class Houston Williams. Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Julian Young, also wounded from shrapnel, made it to his feet and took the wheel. Just then the Quincy appeared off the port bow, a mass of flames. It appeared as though the ships would collide. Captain Greenman ordered a hard turn to port. Young threw the wheel to the left, and the Astoria passed safely astern of her sister ship.

The gunfire had also seriously wounded Ensign Ferneding in the right leg and heel. “I went to stand up and collapsed,” he would recall of the moment. Ferneding had been standing just inside the pilot house on the starboard side. Yeoman 2nd class Walter Putman propped him up against the bulkhead and gave him a cigarette.

The crew of the USS Astoria‘s No. 3 gun, a 5-inch weapon, works feverishly during the gunnery practice in the spring of 1942.

After the hit on the chart house, Quartermaster Radke went about attending to the wounded as best he could. The captain’s orderly soon told him to relieve Young at the helm. The wounded boatswain’s mate was near the point of collapse. Someone needed to have control of the wheel to continue the zigzag movements that the captain had been ordering. Radke took the wheel and discovered that steering control had been lost. Steering was immediately shifted to central station. The speed of the Astoria was now seven knots.

Turret two trained out to the port side to take aim at a searchlight that was once again illuminating the ship. The source of the light was most likely the Japanese cruiser Kinugasa. With the main fire control system down, the turret fired under local control. These would be the last shots fired by the Astoria. The salvo missed the Kinugasa but scored a direct hit on the number one turret of the Chokai. The searchlight was soon extinguished. Enemy gunfire now began to subside. At last it appeared that the battle had passed by the Astoria.

Assessing the Damage

Above the bridge at sky control the situation was deteriorating as enemy gunfire exacted a heavy toll. The last order that Lynn Hager had received over the JV circuit from the bridge was to “Get those damn searchlights.” The communication circuit then went dead. Hager later reported, “Men up on the sky control kept dropping. They were scattered around the decks.” An officer left the position to try to bring some wounded men down to sick bay and returned reporting that the sick bay had been destroyed. Hager took off his useless headset and began to assist the wounded. When sky control was evacuated, he made his way down to the communication deck.

At about 2:15 am, the Astoria lost power. Moments later, Lt. Cmdr. Truesdell, coming down from the director high above, entered the pilot house and informed the captain that the ammunition clipping room directly above the bridge was on fire. With ammunition already starting to explode, he recommended that the bridge be abandoned. To those remaining on the bridge, it appeared that the entire ship aft of the main mast was a mass of flames. Greenman wasted no time ordering the abandonment of the bridge area. He passed word that all able- bodied and wounded men were to assemble at the forecastle, near the front of the ship. The captain himself took up station on the communication deck, just forward of turret two.

Truesdell stayed behind to direct the evacuation of the wounded from the bridge area. He searched all the upper levels to ensure that everyone was out. The able-bodied did the best they could to help the wounded down. Unable to leave under his own power, Ensign Ferneding was lowered to safety after a rope had been tied around him. Don Yeamans climbed down a ladder and made his way toward the front of the ship. Everything seemed to be on fire.

By 3 am, about 400 men, including many wounded, had gathered near the forecastle. Captain Greenman began to assemble the facts as to the status of his ship. It appeared that no serious fires existed below the second deck. The engine rooms were thought to be watertight. The ship had a list of three degrees to port, reason unknown. Large fires in the vicinity of the well deck, secondary gun batteries, and boat deck prevented access to the after part of the ship. Conditions near the stern were not known.

“Abandon Ship”

With all water mains ruptured, a bucket brigade was organized to attack the flames. It was hoped that the fires amidships could be beaten back. Sailors worked feverishly fighting the flames but with little success. The decks near the captain’s cabin became so hot that a plan to treat the wounded in that area had to be abandoned. Captain Greenman soon became concerned about the forward magazines. He ordered both the 8-inch and 5-inch magazines flooded. The flooding of the 8-inch magazine appeared to have been successful, but explosions heard in the vicinity of the 5-inch magazine cast doubt as to whether the flooding of that area worked. The captain became increasingly concerned that the 5-inch magazine would detonate.

Coming down from the bridge, Yeamans could feel the main deck getting hot. He knew that he was near one of the magazines but had no idea if it had been flooded. He thought that he heard someone yell “abandon ship” and quickly jumped over the side. It turned out that no such order had been given. He was picked up by the destroyer Bagley after spending three or four hours in the water.

This photograph taken from the deck of the Japanese cruiser Chokai shows flares illuminating the American cruiser USS Chicago and the Australian cruiser Camberra on the night of August 8-9, 1942.

At about 4:45 am, the captain decided it was time to abandon the stricken cruiser. The Bagley was requested by blinker to come alongside the Astoria’s starboard bow. Maneuvering into place, the destroyer nudged her bow right up to the side of the cruiser. Wooden planks, normally used for painting the side of the ship, were put in place to establish a crossing. Once the wounded were safely transferred to the destroyer, able-bodied personnel began to leave the Astoria.

As the Bagley pulled away, a flashing light was seen near the stern of the Astoria. The after portion of the cruiser did not appear to be on fire as first thought. The destroyer acknowledged the signal and then turned her attention to picking up survivors who were scattered about the sea.

Trying to Save the Astoria

Under the direction of Commander Frank Shoup, the cruiser’s executive officer, survivors had assembled near the stern of the ship. Commander Shoup had been forced to abandon his station due to intense fires. About 150 men, including about 30 wounded, gathered near the fantail. The 1.1-inch machine gun mounts on the main deck near the stern and turret three remained manned although the latter had no power. Looking forward, the men aft could see intense fires. They assumed that the entire forward part of the ship was ablaze.

Shoup ordered the wounded evacuated. Four life rafts filled with the most serious cases cast off from the Astoria’s stern in search of a destroyer. They were later picked up by the Wilson.

Commander Shoup then organized a bucket brigade. The group began to work at the starboard entrance to the hangar. Using buckets and 8-inch powder cans, they worked to beat back the flames. Their efforts were aided at about 3:00 am when a light rain began to fall. About an hour later the noise of a gas-powered pump was heard coming from somewhere near the forward part of the ship. Between 4:30 and 5 am, the bucket brigade had worked its way onto the well deck where progress was eventually blocked by an oil fire. About that time, the Bagley was seen departing near the Astoria’s bow and signaled by flashlight.

Taking stock of the situation, Shoup and the chief engineering officer, Lt. Cmdr. John Hayes, came to the same conclusion. The Astoria could be saved. They felt that there was a good possibility that the cruiser could even get under way on her own power. Shortly after daylight the Bagley pulled up close to the Astoria. A series of shell holes was observed just above the waterline on the port side of the cruiser. Captain Greenman soon reboarded his stricken ship.

Commander Shoup told the captain, “I think we can save her.” Greenman immediately formulated a plan of action.

After additional wounded were taken off the cruiser, a salvage crew of about 325 men began the effort to save the Astoria. The group consisted mostly of engineers, signalmen, and other specialists. Most of the officers also participated. The Bagley took off to transfer the remaining survivors to a transport just after 6 am. The effort to save the Astoria was soon in full swing. Three firefighting parties were organized to continue the work against the flames. Another group was assigned the grim task of collecting dead bodies and preparing the corpses for burial at sea.

Lieutenant Commander Topper, also the ship’s damage control officer, led a party below decks in an effort to determine the extent of the damage below the waterline. A 5-inch shell hole was found on the starboard side. It had been plugged and appeared to be holding. Several small fires were found and extinguished. The after magazines appeared to have been properly flooded. The group secured all watertight hatches and openings on the second deck and below.

Engineering personnel also went below to examine the various engine and fire rooms. Some of the rooms proved to be inaccessible due to debris or heat from nearby fires. Engineering Officer Hayes concluded that he could attempt to make steam from fireroom number 4 only. With both the forward and after batteries exhausted and the middle batteries destroyed near the well deck, all electrical battery power was found to be gone.

Explosions Below Deck

Apparently down by the stern, the cruiser USS Quncy is illuminated by Japanese searchlight beams and pummeled by accurate torpedo and shellfire. The Quincy was one of four Allied cruisers lost at Savo Island, with the Astoria the last to sink.

At about 7 am, the minesweeper Hopkins came to the area to provide assistance. An old destroyer converted to a minesweeper, the vessel transferred a gas-powered pump and hose to the cruiser to aid in the firefighting effort. A power cable was also passed over with the hope that it could be spliced into the Astoria’s system. Captain Greenman felt that the best chance to save the Astoria would be to get her into the shallow waters near Guadalcanal. He requested that his cruiser be taken under tow. Accordingly, the Hopkins backed her stern up to the cruiser’s rear so that a tow line could be passed between the ships. It took two attempts, but the Astoria was soon under tow. The Hopkins eventually was able to make three knots.

The destroyer Wilson arrived on the scene at about 9 am. Positioning herself off the Astoria’s starboard bow, she soon began to pump water into the fires. The stream continued for almost an hour. Around 10 am both the Wilson and Hopkins were called away. Captain Greenman was soon advised that the destroyer Buchanan would arrive to continue the firefighting effort. The transport Alchiba was also dispatched to take up the tow line

Although some progress had been made on the flames above deck, the fires below were increasing in intensity. A large fire was burning out of control in the wardroom area. Several small explosions below decks occurred, followed by a much larger one at 11 am. The larger explosion appeared to have originated below and just behind turret two. The Astoria’s list to port began to increase, first to 10 degrees and then to 15 degrees. The holes, which had been just above the waterline, were now taking in water. A failed attempt to plug them was made with mattresses and pillows.

Lieutenant Commander Topper was standing on the forecastle when he felt the rumble of another internal explosion. Looking over the port side he noticed yellow bubbles coming to the surface near turret two. He immediately ordered all personnel to leave the area and then rushed to report this information to the captain.

The Buchanan, now on station off the starboard bow of the cruiser, prepared to continue the firefighting effort. Captain Greenman made his way forward for a firsthand review of the efforts. The cruiser’s list was now increasing rapidly. The senior officers gathered to discuss the situation. Topper, Executive Officer Shoup, and Engineering Officer Hayes all felt that it was time to abandon ship once again. Captain Greenman readily agreed. Preparations were made for the Buchanan to move to the starboard quarter to take off personnel. All hands were ordered to make their way toward the stern of the ship.

Before Captain Greenman and his officers could make their way to the fantail, the Astoria’s list had reached 30 degrees. It became apparent that the cruiser was not going to stay afloat much longer. At noon Captain Greenman gave the order to abandon ship. Men began to jump into the water as the Buchanan stood about 300 yards distant. As Greenman and Shoup departed the ship for the last time, the list had increased to 45 degrees. The Astoria turned over to her port beam and began to sink stern first. Her bow rose slightly above the water, and she disappeared at 12:15.

Losing the Astoria, Winning Guadalcanal

One of numerous casualties suffered during the Battle of Savo Island, perhaps the most complete defeat of a force in combat during the proud history of the U.S. Navy, the USS Astoria was nevertheless a gallant ship whose crew labored long to save her. The sacrifice of one Australian and three American heavy cruisers off Savo Island, however, proved not to be in vain. Seven months later, the island of Guadalcanal was secured, and the long road to victory in the Pacific took a major step forward.

On July 27, 2005, the Clatsop County, Oregon, board of commissioners unanimously approved a resolution proclaiming August 9th of each year USS Astoria Day. Located in the northwest corner of the state, Astoria is Clatsop County’s largest city. The proclamation serves as a small but lasting tribute.

Comments

I have a letter my father wrote home after the battle. It was put in the Dallas, Tx newspaper and I will find it and send it to you for your files. It details his experience in the fight and is very interesting. He was blown into the water after one of the salvos from the enemy ships and was badly wounded. He was an enlisted man at the start of his tour but received a field commission to Ensign on the Astoria. He was, Charles E Kent Jr. from Richardson, Texas.

My father was on the USS Astoria when it was attacked. He was one of the survivors.

My Dad Thomas O. Storey served on the Nasty Asty during the Battle of Savo Island, he was a survivor.


Letter to Senator Hagel

Following are excerpts from Terry L. Baumfalk's letter (dated February 8, 2005) to Senator Charles ("Chuck") Hagel regarding the Purple Heart medal for his father, William H. Baumfalk. The Purple Heart was awarded to William H. Baumfalk on April 24, 2005. Supporting photos and photos of the ceremony can be seen at the Natoma Bay Photogallery.

Battle and Injury

William (Bill) H. Baumfalk was injured on January 5, 1945. On January 1, 1945, the USS NATOMA BAY CVE-62 became part of Task Group 77.4 enroute to the objective area via the Surgio Strait, Mindanao Sea, Sulu Sea, and the Mindoro Strait.6 Their mission was to provide fire and bombardment support for troops in the area. During this period of 4-5 days, the ships in this Task Group were constantly engaged by Japanese Navy ship bombardment and Kamikaze attacks. In the area of Lingayen Gulf, Philippine Islands, on January 4, 1945, the USS OMMANEY BAY CVE-79 was hit by a Kamikaze. The ship had to be abandoned and sunk that night.7 The ship burned quickly because the flight deck was constructed of wood and the many gallons of aircraft fuel and ammo it was carrying. The USS NATOMA BAY CVE-62 assisted in the recovery of survivors from the USS OMMANEY BAY CVE-79. On January 5, 1945 at 1645 hours, the USS NATOMA BAY CVE-62 went to General Quarters (battle stations) because they received reports of a large group of bogies (enemy planes) bearing 100 degrees (T) distance 25 miles and closing in on their formation. At 1748 hours, the USS MANILA BAY CVE-61 was hit by a Kamikaze and caught fire. At 1749 hours, two suicide planes, identified as “Zekes” (Kamikaze) attacked. One Kamikaze overshot its target, the USS SAVO ISLAND CVE-78, and crashed into the water. The other Kamikaze selected the USS NATOMA BAY CVE-62 as its target. The Kamikaze approached at almost water level from the port quarter. The pilot put his plane into a climbing vertical turn from 1,000 feet away so he could line the plane up with the fore and aft axis of the ship. As the Kamikaze pilot prepared to dive and crash into the flight deck, my Dad’s 5-inch 38-caliber gun mount was firing on the Kamikaze. Because one of the crewmembers was huddling in fear next to the breach of the gun, my Dad’s gun was temporarily put out of commission, and did not fire again at the approaching suicide plane. In the meantime, the Kamikaze made his dive from the starboard quarter. Other guns, the 40mm and 20mm anti aircraft guns, kept on target as the plane dove. At point blank range, these guns shot the left wing off the attacking plane. The plane spun out of control and crashed into the water a few feet astern, almost under the starboard side of the 5-inch 38-caliber gun mount on the fantail. Because it was such a near miss from the impact of the plane crashing and exploding into the water, pieces of the plane’s fuselage and the bomb it was carrying sprinkled the flight deck with debris. A distinct jolt was felt throughout the entire ship and gasoline was observed burning in the ships wake.

When the Kamikaze hit the water and the explosion occurred, my father stated that he was blown off his Gun Captain’s platform and hit his back on the splinter shield (heavy metal shield protecting the gun mount). He said he had burns on his right arm and bruises every place. After regaining consciousness, he saw some of his men knocked down and others were using their own bodies to cover powder charges and shells to prevent them from exploding in case of a fire.

In recounting his story, he recalled how close the Kamikaze plane was to the ship before it crashed under his gun mount, by saying he could see the expression on the Japanese pilot’s face.

In talking with other shipmates of the USS NATOMA BAY CVE-62, it was a common feeling that during an attack, the Sick Bay area (medical facility) was not always a safe place to be. For this reason, the crew was reluctant to go there and report some injuries. Because all compartments were sealed during attack, the lack of watertight integrity of these compartments, and because they were not supposed to be opened until the attack was over, it was the feeling amongst the crew that this was the last place you wanted to be. You would find yourself trapped in the inner part of a ship sinking extremely fast. Dad said, “If he was going to die, he would rather die fighting than to be in Sick Bay and drown.” After watching the USS OMMANEY BAY CVE-79 getting hit by a Kamikaze the day before and watching it burn and sink, he chose not to report his injuries to Sick Bay or to other officers. He just resumed fighting. His thoughts were more on doing what he could do to save the ship and looking out after the men he was in charge of. They resumed firing their 5-inch 38 caliber gun at other Kamikaze planes in the area.

At 1941 hours the USS NATOMA BAY CVE-62 secured from GQ (battle stations). The combat action report for January 5, 1945 noted that the ship expended 8 rounds of 5-inch 38 caliber shells AAC (special projectiles), 448 rounds of 40mm shells, and 1,153 rounds of 20mm shells.

In addition to my father’s other duties, he asked to be a part of the “motor whaleboat” crew to help retrieve downed pilots that had to crash land their planes into the ocean. What is remarkable about this fact is that he never learned how to swim as a youth or in the Navy.

Family and Service History

My father, the only son of Herman and Johanna Baumfalk, only completed his education to the 8th grade level. He was not able to attend high school because he was needed to work on the family farm near Cortland, Nebraska. To earn extra money to help support his family, he traveled with a wheat harvest crew throughout the Midwest.

In September 1942, my father received his notice to report for military service. He chose to enlist in the U.S. Navy and his first regular duty assignment on July 8, 1943 was serving aboard the USS CASABLANCA CVE-55. My father is proud to be a ”plank owner” for that ship and being a part of the original crew involved in the ship’s commissioning. He received most of his training on the 20 mm, 40 mm, and 5-inch 38 caliber guns on the USS CASABLANCA. He also served as a part of the crew that tested the sea worthiness of the CASABLANCA class of CVEs, Escort Aircraft Carriers.

William H. Baumfalk reported to the USS NATOMA BAY CVE-62 on October 14, 1943, the day of this ship’s commissioning. He is a “plank owner” for this ship as well. His duties included manning a 40 mm anti-aircraft gun during Normal Watch and manning the 5-inch 38-caliber gun mount as Gun Captain during GQ (battle stations). The 5-inch 38-caliber Gun mount was located at the fantail (rear) of the ship about 20-30 feet below the flight deck.

My father served his country honorably from September 1942 to December 1945. His service number was 6485848. During this time, he gained the rank and rate of Boatswain Mate 3rd class.

After being honorably discharged from the Navy in December 1945, my father returned home and went back to helping on the farm doing the only occupation he knew, being a farmer. His back continued to hurt preventing him from lifting and doing other strenuous work that he had previously done before entering the Navy. He saw many doctors for his back pain, but they all agreed the injuries were too severe and surgery was not an option.

Through all the years of pain suffered by my father because of his injury, never once did he say he wished he had not enlisted in the Navy. During times when he could barely stand up and wondering how he would support his family, he always remained proud of his service to his country. When he speaks about those war days, he speaks with pride. At a WWII 50th. veteran’s anniversary recognition event at Christ Lutheran Church in Pickrell, Nebraska, my father spoke with pride and showed off his Navy memorabilia. When he spoke of that fateful date, January 5, 1945, he began to cry for those that died and because he could still remember the look on the Kamikaze pilot’s face.


Lyle J. Dixon

Lyle was born Feb 28, 1924 to Clyde and Floris Mowery Dixon on a farm in Kill Creek Township in Osborne, County Kansas. He attended country school at Twin Creek School and later at Osborne, Kansas. He graduated from Osborne High school in 1942 where he met his wife Carol R McNeal. They were married later that year.

He enlisted in U.S Navy in December 1942 serving in the Pacific aboard U.S.S Savo Island, a CVE aircraft carrier until 1945. The ship participated in several invasions in the Philippines, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The ship earned the Presidential award for valor.

Following his service he attended college on a GI bill at Oklahoma State University earning a BS in electrical engineering and MS in mathematics He later attended the University of Kansas earning a Ph. D in Mathematics Education. In 1963 he joined the Faculty at Kansas State University where he specialized in training secondary Math teachers and Elementary Teachers. He wrote 2 textbooks, Basic Mathematics and Mathematics for Elementary Teachers. He was awarded NSF grants for in-service training of teachers. He retired Professor Emeritus from KSU. Overall he spent 52 years in the classroom.

He loved to fish and hunt, participated in ham radio. He was a life member of the American legion, VFW, National council of teachers of mathematics, member and former president of the Solar Kiwanis, member of Sons of the American Revolution and active member of the Republican Party. He also served as a member and chairman of the City Planning board and Urban Area Planning board in Manhattan.

He taught Sunday school at various Methodist churches before moving to Manhattan where he joined the First United Methodist church. As a member for over 50 years he served on many committees, the financial board and as a youth leader.

He is survived by his wife Carol R Dixon, daughter Madelyn C. (Terry) Short, daughter Cheri L. (Billie) Vines, grand children: Brian (Amy) Hood, Erin Hood, Jessica Vines (Chris) Guild, Bruce Vines, Taren Vines, Sean (Christina) Wells, Samantha Wells (Eric) Nott, four Great Grandchildren, Brayden Wells, Dixon Nott, Katherine and Audrey Hood.
He was preceded in death by parents and daughter Denise A. (Greg) Wells.

Memorial services will be held at 10:00 A.M., Friday, June 28th, at the First United Methodist Church, 612 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, with Reverend Melanie Nord officiating. Graveside services will be held at 11:30 A.M. Saturday, June 29th, at the Osborne Cemetery in Osborne, KS, with Reverend Dorothy Ellsworth officiating.

Online condolences may be left for the family by clicking on "Send Condolences" on this page.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, First United Methodist Church in Manhattan, or the First United Methodist Church in Osborne. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502.


Comment

Thank you
As young boys always headed for trouble it was a matter of climbing the fence and behold a world of mystery.
No one knew what the old fort was.
Such history and it had gone to ruin with no maintanence, not a caretaker, nothing.

Today it's a landmark and restored with people dressed in the original uniforms, the buildings restored and funrnished as to the times even a giftshop.

It's easy to understand now how the forts guns commanded the river.

We originally found the fort by accident.
There's a creek running off the river that we fished and with doing so found all the mysterious buildings and underground tunnels.
At that time there were only prop driven airplanes, DC6'S and the like and the fort was on the edge of one of the strips.
You felt like you could touch the incomming and outgoing aircraft and the noise from the old recip airplanes was defening which made it all that more exciting to a gang of young boys.

December 30
1959 - Commissioning of first fleet ballistic missile submarine, USS George Washington (SSB(N)-598), at Groton, CT.

I look at this and just wanna scream HELL YEAH!

George Washington was originally laid down as the attack submarineUSS Scorpion (SSN-589) . During construction, she was lengthened by the insertion of a 130 ft (40 m)-long ballistic missile section and renamed George Washington another submarine under construction at the time received the original name and hull number . Inside George Washington' s forward escape hatch, a plaque remained bearing her original name. Because the ballistic missile compartment design of George Washington would be reused in later ship classes, the section inserted into George Washington was designed with a deeper test depth rating than the rest of the submarine.


# 73 - THE BRIDGES AT TOKO-RI

BACK-STORY: “The Bridges at Toko-Ri” is a war movie based on the novel by James Michener. The movie was released in 1955, just one year after the book was published. The movie was a hit and got an Oscar for Best Special Effects. The producers had the full cooperation of the U.S. Navy which allowed the use of nineteen ships. The credits mention that the movie was made as a tribute to U.S. Navy pilots. William Holden and Grace Kelly had an affair during the filming.


Panthers taking off
OPENING: Task Force 77 is patrolling off the coast of North Korea in November, 1952. The fleet is centered around the U.S.S. Savo Island (actually the U.S.S. Oriskany). A rescue helicopter launches in preparation for returning flights. One of the F9F Panthers has to ditch and the helicopter crew of Mike (Mickey Rooney) and Nestor (Earl Holliman) pick up Lt. Harry Brubaker (William Holden) before he freezes to death in the very frigid waters.

SUMMARY: Brubaker meets with Admiral Tarrant (Frederic March). Tarrant views Brubaker as a surrogate son because he reminds him of his son who was killed in the Battle of Midway. Brubaker is bitter because his reserve unit was called up and he had to leave his wife, two daughters, and his law practice. He is a veteran of WWII and a crack pilot, but he shows signs of being a pilot about to crack. Brubaker sees no good reason for the war (echoing the feelings of most of America in 1952). Tarrant spouts the party line that “if we don’t stop the Koreans here, they’ll be in Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and then on to the Mississippi”. And you thought the Domino Theory started with the Vietnam War. The admiral thinks that knocking out the strategic bridges at Toko-Ri could win the war.

The Task Force arrives in Japan for some R&R. The air group commander Lee visits the admiral to complain about the captain of the ship using the airplanes props to help maneuver the ship into its berth. He feels the pressure on the engines will reduce their effectiveness. He backs down when Tarrant points out the bigger picture is what’s best for the carrier. When he leaves chastened, the admiral decides not to recommend him for promotion because he backed down.

The stay in Japan allows Brubaker’s wife and kids to visit him. Romantic music swells. Tarrant visits them in the hotel bar. He reveals his career has been blocked ever since he blamed the Russians for supporting North Korea. He is now persona non grata in Washington. Brubaker is called away because Mike is in jail after a ruckus he created upon learning his Japanese girl friend has jilted him. Mike is Irish, so he is a mean drunk, of course. Plus, everyone knows that sailors on shore leave always get in trouble with the MPs ( war movie cliche #34).

While Brubaker is gone bailing out Mike, the Admiral has time to deliver some pearls of wisdom to his wife. Mrs. Nancy Brubaker (Grace Kelly) is your typical clueless, fear-stricken pilot’s wife. Tarrant senses this so he gives her one of the great pep talks in war movie history. He tells her when his son was killed his wife and daughter-in-law went insane. This could be you, too. His point is you must face the reality of the war and maybe you won’t be like them. You women are “ignorant and defenseless”. You can’t understand why men go to war. The best you can be is supportive and prepared for your husband’s death. Mr. Sensitivity, he ain’t. When Brubaker returns, Nancy insists on finding out about the bridges. Harry pulls no punches in describing the dangers of the mission.

tell me about the bridges, darling

Back at sea, Lee has to go on a recon mission with Brubaker as his wingman to get photos of the bridges. They fly over beautiful mountainous scenery. Lee makes his pass and they head back. Landing on a bobbing postage stamp is difficult so Lee has a rough touch-down. Brubaker’s is even scarier as he has to land on a shortened deck. Up the anxiety level going into the big mission. Watching the film shot by Lee doesn’t do much for morale, either. Tarrant is aware of Brubaker’s fragile psyche and since he loves him like a son, suggests he sit this one out. Brubaker admits he is a coward and accepts the offer – just kidding. Brubaker is a red-blooded 1950s movie American warrior so he knows what duty means. Those two cute daughters will understand.

The attack on the bridges is anti-climatic as they knock them down without a scratch. What to do with these unused bombs? Let’s go on to the secondary target – an ammunition dump. Good idea considering what awesome Hollywood explosions you get with the blowing up of an ammunition dump! Cue explosions, courtesy of Brubaker. Unfortunately, our hero gets a bullet in the fuel tank and the leakage prevents him from making it back to the carrier. He crash lands in a commie field. It’s go time for Mike and Nestor.

The Irishman arrives, but is promptly shot down. Nestor is shot and killed upon exiting the chopper. Mike manages to join Harry who is hiding in an irrigation ditch. Communist troops are closing in. Things look bleak.

Action - 7


Acting - 9


Accuracy - 7


Realism - 8


Plot - 8


Overall - 8

WOULD CHICKS DIG IT? Yes. I think women would be able to relate to the Grace Kelly character. She is meant to represent a typical military wife. However, they might be offended by the condescending treatment of her by the men, especially the admiral. This movie was made before women’s lib. The action is not bloody or graphic. The story is not overly macho.

ACCURACY: Michener was on board the U.S.S. Essex and U.S.S. Valley Forge as a war correspondent during the Korean War. He based his novel on two rescue missions of downed pilots which were similar to the two referenced in the book and movie. The two rescues occurred on the same day, however. And the year was 1951, not 1952. Also, the second one did not result in the deaths of the pilot and helicopter crew. They were taken captive, but presumed to be dead at the time by the Navy and thus Michener.

The attacks were based on bombing raids on bridges at Majoni-Ri and Changnim-Ri. They were not bridges over the Yalu River as was the bridge in the movie. They were in central North Korea and downing them would not win the war. The attack aircraft were Skyraiders, not Panthers.

The landing and take-off scenes are accurate and very instructive of carrier operations. The rescue tactics are well done. The incident where the planes are used to berth the ship was based on an actual occurrence.

CRITIQUE: “The Bridges at Toko-Ri” is a good, but not great movie. The plot is interesting. It is not overly patriotic or gung-ho. The main character is a reluctant warrior. This probably reflects the fact that the movie was made after the war was over and had in the public’s mind been labeled a misguided effort. In which case, Brubaker would have represented the general feeling of the public. One wonders how the audiences in the theaters felt when Tarrant opines that the fall of South Korea would have a domino effect.

There is welcome comic relief from Rooney. He was a good actor and he gets into the role with gusto. Holliman also turns in one of his better performances as a loyal yokel. Holden is Holden, nuff said. Kelly is asked to look lovely and vulnerable and succeeds. March is good as the paternal admiral. He brings gravitas to the role and the picture.

The action is crisp and realistic. The carrier operations have a tutorial feel to them. The aerial scenes are exciting and do not have that fake look common for old air combat movies. The movie does not get overly melodramatic with the downing of Brubaker. It is treated stoically as would be true for an American pilot’s crash in the Korean War.

CONCLUSION: Although the novel is short, if you do not like to read this movie will give you the classic novel’s plot in cinema form. It follows the book religiously. It also accurately reflects the novel’s themes of self-sacrifice, loyalty, and the senselessness of war. But most significantly, the movie does not change the downer of an ending just to suit the audience. Kudos for that! In some ways it is the “All Quiet” of the Korean War.


Baby Axe Rattle Crochet Patterns: Firefighter Axe, Lumberjack Axe, Battle Axe, Viking Axe, Tomahawk (Paperback)

Lisa Ferrel

Published by Independently Published, United States, 2018

New - Softcover
Condition: New

Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Your little firefighter will love playing with this rattle shaped like Dad's (or Mom's) axe. Make a racing axe for your little lumberjack or a double-blade axe for your little Viking or Renaissance fan. Book also includes tomahawk rattle pattern and battle axe rattle pattern (with instructions for double or single blade). These rattles make great shower gifts, photography props or accessories for baby's Halloween costume. Very versatile pattern. Use worsted weight yarn from your scrap basket (cotton or polyester). You can use an empty pill bottle to make the rattle or buy a rattle insert. I have also made them with a squeaker for a dog toy. Makes a great baby shower gift. If you would like an axe rattle in a style you don't see here, please feel free to send me a message, and I'll see what I can create for you. *********** This listing is for a CROCHET PATTERN in PDF format. ***********Skill level: EasyFinished items measure approximately 8 " tall by 4.5" inches wide for single blade and approximately 7" wide for double blade. Materials you will need: Small amounts of worsted weight yarn Size G crochet hook Yarn needleFiberfillSmall plastic baby aspirin bottle with lid (washed thoroughly) and 5-10 dried beans or rattle insert.