The story

Side view of USS Guam


Side view of USS Guam

Here we see a side view of USS Guam, one of only two Alaska class battleships to be completed. She had a short service career in the last few months of the Second World War, but was soon put into reserve after the war was over.


Guam’s US Naval Era Historical Overview

The arrival of the USS Charleston at Apra Harbor 20 June 1898 and the capture of Guam by the Americans during the Spanish American War heralded the beginning of significant change, once again, for the CHamoru people. US Naval Captain Henry Glass claimed Guam for the US, seized the Spanish officials on Guam, and set sail for the Philippines. After 230 years of Spanish control CHamorus took this opportunity for self-governance for a short time before the first American naval governor, Richard Phillips Leary, finally arrived and took charge a year and a half later.

Besides having a new colonial master, for the first time the island of Guam would be under separate rule from the rest of the Mariana Islands as the United States took only Guam, allowing the Northern Marianas to be sold by Spain to Germany.

The Americans brought not only a new style of colonialism with an emphasis on separation of church and state, but also imposed economic restrictions and issued many rules administered by an ever changing Naval administrator, most of whom only stayed for a year or two. Each naval governor had his own ideas about how things should be and ordered the CHamorus to comply. CHamorus were not US citizens and had no recourse, as the Naval governor was also the court.

There was no free press, martial law was in effect and there was only an advisory Congress on Guam during this era, lasting from 1899 until 1941, interrupted by World War II while the island was taken over by Japan. Americans took the island back and the Navy was in charge again from 1944 until 1950.

People were encouraged to speak English rather than their native CHamoru or Spanish. Some US Marines were designated as Insular Patrolmen and assigned to villages to ensure that the people followed the new Navy rules regarding everything from how tall the weeds were to the length of girls skirts. Public health officials treated school children without parental consent, people with Hansen’s Disease known as “lepers” were forcibly taken from their families and kept locked up until they were sent away to the Philippines in 1912, most never to be heard from again.

Naturally, there were also positive developments during this time as well. The first American hospital was built through the efforts of Gov. Shoeder’s wife, Susanna, and a nurses training program was established. The Guam Newsletter was created, more youth learned to read and write in English, American music such as Jazz and band ensembles were introduced, influencing CHamoru music of the time. Baseball made its debut with fields carved out of the jungle and teams in many villages. Theaters, stores and even soda fountains were built and enjoyed by island residents. Hagåtña and Sumay were bustling towns.

Social organizations were formed that still exist today such as the American Red Cross and the Young Men’s League of Guam, to name a few. More ships made ports of call on Guam, bringing trade and the beginnings of commerce. Telephones, radio, the postal service, cable communications and eventually the Pan Am Clipper airplanes came to Guam bringing travelers from around the world and creating new jobs. People began building new styles of homes and using new farming techniques, reinforcing the self-sustenance that CHamorus were known for.

At the same time CHamorus began migrating to the US for education and to join the military, a trend that continues today.

The Naval administrators also tried to break the hold that the Catholic Church had on the island sending the Spanish priests away and outlawing religious celebrations on any day but Sunday. Protestant churches were established and some CHamorus changed religion. Catholic catechism was no longer allowed to be taught in the schools.

Governor Willis W. Bradley (1929-1931) was the only naval officer to attempt to push civil rights for the CHamoru people through a Bill of Rights that was ignored by federal officials although some elements were incorporated into revised 1933 Guam law codes.

On 10 December 1941 Japan invaded Guam’s shores and took over the island for the duration of World War II. The Americans who survived the Japanese attack were taken prisoner of war and sent to Japan. CHamorus struggled until the strict Japanese rule for three and a half years, suffering many war atrocities, until the Americans came back to reclaim the island on 21 July 1944.

After less than a month of intense fighting the island was recaptured by the Americans. It soon became the temporary home to 205,000 US military as a forward base for the continuing war in the Pacific and Asia. This increase in military also brought many new people to Guam who fell in love with the island and its people and stayed. Some came for the business opportunities, some came with the government and others, such as the Cushing and Gombar families, came to entertain the troops.

The major villages had been heavily bombed during the American invasion, leaving CHamorus to face a devastated island. Much land was taken for a larger US military presence as well. CHamorus had to make new homes, send their children to new schools and create new villages.

After a few years of getting resettled, CHamorus once again tried to gain control of their island home. A newly appointed Guam Congress struggled with Naval leadership once again, and eventually walked out of session decrying the lack of democracy. A like-minded group of people in Washington DC, the Institute of Ethnic Affairs, helped lobby for the passage of an organic act.

President Harry Truman finally signed the Organic Act on 1 August 1950 giving CHamorus US citizenship and the beginnings of self-governance and ending naval rule for Guam.


LPH-9 Guam

The Amphibious Assault Ship GUAM (LPH-9) is the fourth ship of the Iwo Jima-class (LPH-2) and the third ship to bear the name. Her christening commemorates the historic amphibious landing during World War II. The LPH is designed to transport more than 2,000 fully-equipped Marine assault troops into combat areas and land them by helicopter at designated inland points. GUAM's keel was laid on November 15, 1962 at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Launched on August 22, 1964 and completed on March 31, 1965, GUAM is 602-feet long and displaces 18,000 tons (full load). She is powered by two boilers and one geared turbine that generates 22,000 total shaft horsepower for a maximum speed of 24 knots.

GUAM's keel was laid on 15 November 1962 at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. She was launched on 22 August 1964 and commissioned in Philadelphia on 16 January 1965 during a ceremony that included the principal address by Manuel Guerrero, governor of the Marianas island of Guam. Completed on 31 March 1965, GUAM was 602-feet long and displaced 18,000 tons (full load). GUAM was designed to transport 2,000 fully equipped Marine assault troops into combat areas and land them by helicopter at designated inland points. This modern amphibious technique of vertical envelopment, pioneered by the Navy and Marine Corps team, exploits flexibility and surprise. "Mighty 9's" first commanding officer was Captain Norman E. Thurmon of Warrensburg, Missouri. Thurman served as a dive bomber pilot in the battle for which the ship was named.

GUAM's first major deployment on 29 November 1965 included embarkation of Marine Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 3/8 at Onslow Beach and participation with 50 other ships in the Caribbean in the full scale amphibious exercise PHIBASWEX/MEBLEX. This exercise began in Norfolk and terminated with a large scale amphibious landing on the island of Vieques. Following the exercise, GUAM and three other ships remained in the Caribbean as the Ready Amphibious Squadron under COMPHIBRON TWELVE. GUAM departed Norfolk, on 6 September 1966, for duty as the prime recovery ship for Gemini XI. Astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordan spent three days in space and set seven new world records for manned space flight before being recovered 710 miles east of Florida on 15 September. In late November GUAM departed Norfolk on LANTFLEX and the CARIB 4-66 deployment that lasted until 9 April 1967. On 6 december, as flagship for Commander Amphibious Squadron TWELVE, GUAM set sail in company with other units of PHIBRON TWELVE and assumed the duties of the Caribbean Ready Group (CARIB) 4-67. CARIB 4-67 included refresher jungle training conducted with the U.S. Army in Panama and port visits to St. Croix, Curacao, Panama, Trinidad, and St. Thomas. On 28 October 1968 GUAM departed for refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. During training, GUAM hosted dependents and school teachers from the naval station for weekend visits to Montego Bay, Jamaica and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. From 12 February to 12 July 1969 GUAM deployed as part of CARIB 1-69 again with COMPHIBRON TWELVE embarked. In March 1970 she was involved in the equipment recovery from the 1970 Solar Eclipse experiment when she recovered an Aerobe research payload fired from Wallops Island under the direction of NASA to study atmospheric conditions during the eclipse.

In May of 1970, GUAM departed Norfolk to embark a BLT and helicopter squadron at Morehead City before participating in exercise EXOTIC DANCER THREE, off the coast of North Carolina. She then headed for San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of CARIB 2-70. In June, while enroute to Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone, GUAM was ordered to Peru where a disasterous earthquake had occurred. GUAM has extensive medical facilities and was designed with a secondary role as prime recover ship for the evacuation of casualties. After transiting the Panama Canal on 8 June and loading relief supplies and medical teams in Balboa, she proceeded to Peru. From June 12-21 while anchored off Chimbote and Paramonga, Peru, the embarked squadron flew hundreds of mercy missions delivering food, tents, blankets and medical supplies ashore, and returning the most seriously injured to GUAM for medical treatment. GUAM later made a port call at Lima, where over 5,000 Peruvians visited the ship during her two-day stay, before retransiting the Panama Canal and ariving for amphibious exercises at Vieques on 5 July. A port visit to San Juan preceded the return to Norfolk. On 27 September GUAM sailed for the Eastern Mediterranean where she received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her participation in contingency operations during the Jordanian crisis.

Because of GUAM's similarity to a conceptual Sea Control Ship, she was selected during the summer of 1971 for the Navy's Interim Sea Control Ship (ISCS) project. After entering an extensive re-fit in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on 28 October 1971, GUAM began tests and evaluation in conjunction with the ISCS Project on 18 January 1972. As the ISCS, GUAM provided inputs to preliminary design by developing tactical concepts and measuring system performance. Aircraft operated by GUAM in support of this conceptual project included SH-3H "Sea King" helicopters and the Marine Corps' AV-8A "Harrier" Vertical Short Take-Off and Landing (VSTOL) jet. GUAM completed the ISCS evaluation and reassumed her role as an Amphibious Assault Ship on July 1, 1974.

On 24 September 1974 GUAM became the first Navy ship to deploy operationally with AV-8A aircraft when she left her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia for participation in the North Atlantic NATO exercise "Alien Gold" and a six-month Mediterranean deployment with MARG 2-74. GUAM returned to homeport in March 1975 and began preparations for her first regular overhaul at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard which started on 1 July 1975. Following completion of overhaul on 6 March 1976, refresher training was conducted at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in May and included her second visit to Port-au-Prince. GUAM returned to Norfolk by way of a port visit to Fort Lauderdale and then commenced amphibious refresher training at Onslow Beach on 12 July. Later that month she was certfied to conduct mine countermeasures using H-53 helicopters. GUAM was then selected to be the first ship in the Navy to fly the new Jewish worship pennant that was introduced in October for use to signify that the ship was conducting Jewish worship services. This corresponded to the church services pennant already in use to denote Catholic and Protestant worship services.

GUAM commenced a deployment to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean in 11 November 1976 in response to JCS tasking. This deployment included special State Department tasking to support Kenya and their celebration of Kenyan Independence day. GUAM sailed directly to the Mediterranean in total electronic silence and conducted turnover with USS IWO JIMA (LPH-2) as GUAM continued to steam through Gibraltar. She continued east and rendezvoused with the FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT (CV-42 ) off of the east coast of Sicily to transfer the helicopter squadron (HMM-264) to NAS Sigonella. Once completed, GUAM made another milestone in naval history by embarking a AV-8A "Harrier" squadron of 14 aircraft from the FDR to support the Kenyan operation and becoming the first LPH to routinely operate a full squadron of AV-8A aircraft. Leaving Sicily, GUAM transited to Port Said and commenced a middle of the night transit of the Suez Canal at the head of the southbound convoy in the company of USS CLAUDE V. RICKETTS (DDG-5). She proceeded south across the equator but delayed the traditional Shellback initiation until the return voyage because of concern for Ugandan intervention in the mission to Mombasa. USS DUPONT (DD-945) joined Task Group 101.1 on 5 December and the three ships arrived off Kenya in early December after GUAM had steamed non-stop for 28 days. On 12 December, GUAM steamed off of the coast of Kenya and launched 13 AV-8As in 14 minutes to overfly Jamhuri Park in Nairobi to honor President Jomo Kenyatta and for a fly-by celebration of Kenya's 13th year of independence. Following "their spectacular performance" and successful completion of the celebration, GUAM transited back across the equator with the grace of King Neptune and took the opportunity to introduce the 1,100 lowly Pollywogs to the exalted ways of the 47 Shellbacks. Following the northbound transit of the Suez Canal on 22 December, GUAM entered the Mediterranean and Alexandria, Egypt harbor for a port visit over Christmas 1976. GUAM had steamed 11,285 miles in the 39 days required to support the Kenya Special Operations.

In January 1977 GUAM recross-decked the AV-8's to the FDR and recovered HMM-264 from Sigonella. She rejoined the MARG at Naples and participated in exercise PHIBLEX 1-77 and then made a port visit to Barcelona, Spain. Catastrophe struck on the first night of this port visit when a LCM-6 landing craft being used as a liberty boat was struck by a Spanish freighter in the inner harbor and capsized. The boat carried over 100 enlisted sailors and marines half of whom drowned in the freezing winter water. Forty-nine crewman from GUAM and USS TRENTON (LPD-14) were lost in this tragic accident and a memorial to these men has since been erected in Barcelona. GUAM completed the remainder of the Mediterranean deployment with several fleet exercises and port visits to Genoa, Italy, Cannes, France, and Palma de Majorca. In May of 1977, while beginning her transit back home to Norfolk, Guam participated in joint oceanographic studies with the Soviet Union before returning to Norfolk in June.

While deployed to the Mediterranean in May, 1982. GUAM was sent to the coast of Lebanon to prepare for the possible evacuation of non-combatants during the war between the Israelis and opposing Palestinian and Syrian forces. GUAM participated in the evacuation of over 600 Lebanese, Americans and third country nationals from Juniyah, Lebanon, a city north of Beirut. In August, GUAM landed Marines in Beirut as part of a multinational peace keeping force which included Freneh and Italian troops. GUAM then participated in the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization guerrillas from Beirut.

While deployed to the Mediterranean in May, 1982, GUAM was sent to the coast of Lebanon to prepare for possible evacuation operations or intervention in the war raging between the Israelis and opposing Palestinian and Syrian forces. GUAM participated in the evacuation of of over 600 Lebanese , Americans and third country nationals from Juniyah, Lebanon, a city north of Beirut. GUAM received the Navy Unit Commendation and the Humanitarian Service Medal for her efforts. In August, GUAM landed Marines in Beirut as part of a multi-national peace keeping force which included the French and Italians. GUAM then participated in the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization guerrillas from Beirut. GUAM departed Lebanon after order seemed restored only to return in September, 1982, to re-deploy Marines. GUAM later departed the Mediterranean and arrived home in Norfolk on Thanksgiving Day.

During January, February and March 1983, GUAM participated in COLD WINTER 83 in which British and Norwegian forces joined in war games with the United States in northern Norway. GUAM then returned to Norfolk in April for and extensive upkeep period. Following a summer devoted to Board of Inspection and Survey Trials and an intensive maintenance effort, GUAM deployed in October 1983 as a unit of MARG 1-84. While enroute to the Mediterranean the task force was diverted to the island nation of Grenada where GUAM was a key participant in the rescue of approximately 200 American citizens in Operation Urgent Fury. During her ten days on station off Grenada, four airborne assaults were launched, two of which took place at night. During this action GUAM served as the flagship for the operational commander, CTJF 120, provided logistic support for Navy, Marine, Army and Air Force units involved in the operation, and served as the principal casualty receiving ship treating 76 wounded U.S. military personnel, civilian and prisoners of war without loss of life. GUAM also served as a temporary detention facility for the captured leaders of the Marxist Grenadian Junta. The Mighty Nine was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for her act ions. After the island was secured, GUAM turned east, returning to the coast of Beirut, Lebanon, in early November to assume duties in support of the peace-keeping effort.

In January and February 1986, GUAM was dispatched to help in recovery operations following the space shuttle Challenger disaster. GUAM was instrumental in the recovery of one of the rocket booster nose cones which was able to be loaded on to the flight deck and returned for inspection. GUAM deployed in August 1990 to support Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During this eight-month deployment, GUAM was part of the amphibious force which conducted an historical feint operation, effectively neutralizing thousands of Iraqi forces along the Kuwaiti coast waiting to defend against a possible amphibious attack. In January 1991, GUAM departed the Persian Gulf region and evacuated American and other embassy personnel from Mogadishu, Somalia as part of Operation Eastern Exit, rescuing 282 people. Following the evacuation, GUAM returned to the Persian Gulf and resumed its role in Operation Desert Storm.

In June 1994, GUAM had the honor of representing the U.S. Navy in ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of D-Day in Southampton, England and Cherbourg, France.

In the spring and early summer of 1996, the "Mighty 9" steamed off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia as flagship of Operation Assured Response while embarked Marines guarded the embassy compound. GUAM's presence provided assurance to U.S. embassy personnel working in a country ravaged by civil war. In 1996 Guam ARG and 22d MEU demonstrated: mobility, by transiting over 3500 nautical miles within the region flexibility, by executing multiple taskings through combined and split force operations joint capability, by performing as a joint task force commander during a regional crisis sustainability, by remaining unobtrusively on station for 69 days and national resolve, by protecting and evacuating U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.

As a result of factional fighting and general violence in Liberia, the exceptional flexibility and capabilities of naval forces were again showcased. In early April 1996, elements of the Guam (LPH 9) amphibious ready group (ARG) and the 22d MEU (SOC), were ordered to the vicinity of Monrovia, Liberia. Upon arrival, the 22d MEU (SOC) commanding officer assumed command of Joint Task Force-Assured Response (JTF-AR) which included Air Force, Navy, and Marine forces. With additional support from an HC-4 MC-53E helicopter detachment and other Navy-Marine Corps aircraft, embassy security and transportation were provided and 309 non-combatants were evacuated - including 49 U.S. citizens. While still conducting this operation, elements of JTF-AR were ordered to Bangui, Central African Republic, to conduct similar operations. A special purpose Marine Air-ground task force, embarked on the Ponce (LPD 15) and with ten days' notice, relieved the Guam task force, and assumed the duties of CJTF-AR. This was done to allow the Guam ready group and the 22d MEU(SOC) to return to the Adriatic Sea and provide the European Command's desired over-the-horizon presence during the Bosnian national elections. During the ship's final deployment from Ocober 1997 to April 1998, GUAM deployed to the Arabian Gulf to support U.S. military assets already present in the area, in response to Iraqi refusal to comply with United Nations weapons inspections. Shortly after the amphibious assault ship's arrival, Iraq agreed to comply, allowing for full and unfettered access to all suspected weapons sites. GUAM was decommissioned on 25 August 1998 and stricken from the Naval Register in November 1998 retroactive to 25 August 1998. She was temporarily stored at Norfolk pending disposal and was later moved to the James River.

The first Guam, launched in 1928, was a 159-foot river gunboat with a complement of five officers and 44 enlisted crewmen whose mission was to protect American interests on coastal and inland Chinese waters prior to World War II. As part of the Yangtze Patrol, or YangPat. the shallow-drafted vessel was ideally suited to transit the Yangtze River to convoy merchantmen, provide armed guards for American flag steamers, and "show the flag" in order to protect American lives and property in a land where war and civil strife had been a way of life for centuries. The ship was later renamed USS Wake and was captured by the Japanese in Shanghai where she was held for the duration of the war. She returned to US control in 1945 but was turned over to the Nationafist Chinese Navy and was renamed RCS Tai Yuan.


Selection

Following the war, there was growing interest in having an unknown soldier from WWII laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). On September 6, 1945, a bill providing for the interment in (ANC) of a WWII unknown was introduced in Congress by the Honorable Melvin Price of Illinois. The measure was approved in June 1946 as Public Law 429, 79th Congress. It directed the Secretary of War to return a WWII unknown soldier from overseas and to arrange for his burial with appropriate ceremonies near or beside the WWI Unknown Soldier buried in ANC. The original date set for the interment was Memorial Day, May 30, 1951.

On 10 November 1950, after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, President Truman approved the recommendation that the intement of the WWII unknown soldier be postponed until it appeared advisable to revive the matter. This did not take place until after the Korean War came to an end in 1953 and now that war was over, the U.S. decided to select and bury an unknown from both WWII and the Korean War.

Since WWII was primarily fought in two theaters, there needed to be a selection of candidates from both theaters. The unknown candidate from the Pacific Theater (Trans-Pacific) would be selected at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, while the unknown candidate from the European Theater (Trans-Atlantic) would be selected at Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France. After each selection was made, the final selection would be made off the U.S. coast.

Read the complex story behind the selection and transportation of the candidates from each theater of operation HERE

Trans-Pacific Unknown Candidate

After the war, all U.S. unknowns from the Pacific Theater were buried in two locations the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii or in the Fort McKinley American Cemetery and Memorial in Republic of the Philippines. A total of six candidates would be chosen from these locations, four from the Philippines and two from Hawaii. The final selection of the Trans-Pacific unknown candidate would be made on May 16, 1958.

Prior to this date, the appropriate candidates had to be brought to Hawaii from the Pacific Theater. The process for selecting the final candidates was completed in the following manner: numbers from the grave markers of six completely unidentifiable servicemen had been recorded on cards and sealed in unmarked envelopes from these six envelopes, two were selected by drawing and subsequently were taken to the Army Mortuary in Honolulu there the remains were examined to assure the absence of identity, and were prepared for the final selection ceremony. Also, four caskets had been chosen in the same manner at Fort McKinley, and had arrived at Hickam AFB on April 29, 1958 by U.S. Air Force transport.

The grassy mall at the base of the water tower at Hickam Air Force Base was chosen as the site of the selection ceremony. Honor and color guards from all the U.S. Armed Forces participated in the services. At the U.S. Army Mortuary the six unknown candidates were placed in identical caskets, in readiness for the final selection ceremony. All records pertaining to the unknown servicemen, both overseas and at home, were assembled and destroyed to prevent future speculation about the selected candidate.

The sky on May 16 was overcast, with clouds moving gently over Hickam and adjacent Pearl Harbor, the scenes of the first attack of WWII. After participating military personnel, invited guests and the public had taken their places, the ceremony began. Under a canopied area, the six U.S. flag-draped caskets were flanked by honor and color guards from the U.S. Armed Forces. In the center of the lawn stood an empty bier, destined to receive the honored casket after the final selection. On the bier a white carnation lei had been placed.

Colonel Glenn T. Eagleston, of the 313th Air Division, U.S. Air Force, a combat pilot with an impressive record in both WWII and the Korean War, had been designated to select the unknown candidate to represent the Pacific Theater. Colonel Eagleston lifted the lei from the empty bier, approached the six caskets under the canopy, and after a few seconds hesitation, placed the lei on one of the caskets. Accompanied by a muted roll of drums, military pallbearers then carried the Trans-Pacific unknown candidate to the waiting bier. Air Force Chaplain Colonel Howell G. Gum delivered a prayer of dedication, at the conclusion of which the National Anthem was played.

In the early morning hours of May 17 th 1958 a four engine C-54 Skymaster of the Fleet Tactical Support Squadron VR-21 received the Korean War Unknown and the Trans-Pacific candidate at Barbers Point Naval Air Station (NAS) and transported them to Naval Base at Guantanamo, Cuba.

Arriving at McCalla Field NAS Guantanamo, twelve Sailors accepted the caskets with reverence and respect and transported them to the Naval Hospital.

The caskets of the Korean War Unknown Soldier and the Trans-Pacific candidate remained under guard at the Navy mortuary until May 23, 1958 when they were transported to the dock and carried by motor launch to the starboard side of the USS Boston. At 11:10 a.m. on Friday May 23 rd the Boston left her anchorage at Guantanamo for the North Atlantic.

View the USS Boston log for May 23, 1958 HERE

Trans-Atlantic Unknown Candidate

Selection of the Trans-Atlantic unknown candidate was conducted on May 12, 1958 at the Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France 1 . As was the case with the Trans-Pacific ceremonies, the first task was to have a representative group of remains assembled, from which an unknown candidate to represent those lost in the European Theater would be selected. To assure that all the unidentifiable dead of the European Theater were properly represented, 13 principal and 13 alternate unknowns were designated for disinterment. Remains were taken from the following cemeteries maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission:

Ardennes American Cemetery (3)
Brittany American Cemetery (1)
Florence American Cemetery (1)
Lorraine American Cemetery (1)
Luxembourg American Cemetery (1)
Netherlands American Cemetery (1)
Normandy American Cemetery (1)
North Africa American Cemetery (1)
Rhone American Cemetery (1)
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery (1)


Rear Admiral Evans was entitled to the Civil War Campaign Medal, Sampson Medal and Spanish Campaign Medal.

Two destroyers, USS Evans (DD-78), launched 30 October 1918, and USS Evans (DD-552),launched 4 October 1942, were named in his honor.

Theodore Roosevelt owned a guinea pig named Fighting Bob Evans.

Great White Fleet

The Great White Fleet, USS Connecticut leads the way (1907).

Distant view of the Great White Fleet.

USS Louisiana BB-19 Coronado, CA (1908)

USS New Jersey BB-16 (side view)

Harbor Scene – Look at all that air pollution.

USS Prairie State – Naval Residence Midshipmen Training School at New York 1940s – 1950s (FKA: USS Illinois).

Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans

The Fleet, First Squadron and First Division, were commanded by Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans. The USS Connecticut was his flagship.

See: USS Wasmuth – Historic Ship of the Past
The heroic actions of Pvt Henry Wasmuth saved the life of Ensign Robley D. Evans, at the cost of Pvt Henry Wasmuth’s life, in the era of the American Civil War, during the second battle at Fort Fisher.

There are lots of post cards listed for auction on eBay, that pertain to the “Great White Fleet”.


Contents

1961 to 1964 Edit

Following a shakedown in the Western Atlantic, Kitty Hawk departed Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia on 11 August 1961. After a brief stop at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she embarked the Secretary of the Brazilian Navy for a demonstration during an exercise at sea with five Brazilian destroyers, the attack carrier rounded Cape Horn on 1 October. She steamed into Valparaíso, Chile on 13 October and then sailed two days later for Peru, arriving in Callao on 20 October where she entertained the President of Peru. At San Diego, Admiral George W. Anderson, Chief of Naval Operations, landed on her deck 18 November to witness antisubmarine demonstrations by Henry B. Wilson and Blueback, a Terrier missile demonstration by Topeka and air demonstrations by Kitty Hawk.

Kitty Hawk entered San Francisco Naval Shipyard on 23 November 1961 for alterations. Following operations out of San Diego, she sailed from San Francisco on 13 September 1962. Kitty Hawk joined the United States Seventh Fleet on 7 October 1962, relieving Midway as the flagship.

After participating in the Philippine Republic Aviation Week Air Show, Kitty Hawk steamed out of Manila Harbor on 30 November 1962, and welcomed Admiral Harry D. Felt, Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, for a demonstration of modern naval weapons on 3 December. The ship visited Hong Kong early in December and returned to Japan, arriving at Yokosuka on 2 January 1963.

In conjunction with Commander, Carrier Division Seven, Kitty Hawk carried out several exercises in January and February 1963. [6] On 4 January 1963, Operation Checkertail saw Kitty Hawk and three other attack aircraft carriers launch practice airstrikes against the Okinawa Air Defense Command. From 27 January – 2 February 1963, 'Picture Window III' saw 'foreign aircraft' intercepted and visually identified in the Northern Japan area. Though the official ship's papers released in 2011 do not identify the nationality, it is likely that the 'foreign aircraft' in question were from the Soviet Far Eastern Military District or Soviet Naval Aviation. From 16–19 February 1963, Exercise 'Red Wheel,' was conducted around Southern Japan also under the direction of Commander, Carrier Division Seven. It aimed to improve the United States Seventh Fleet's ability to conduct conventional and nuclear warfare while maintaining defense against air and submarine attack. It also aimed to evaluate the capability of 'the HUK [Hunter-Killer] Group' to protect two CVA Task Groups. During these exercises, the ship visited Kobe, Beppu and Iwakuni before returning to San Diego on 2 April 1963.

On 6 June 1963, President John F. Kennedy, with top civilian and military leaders, boarded Kitty Hawk to witness a carrier task force weapons demonstration off the California coast. Addressing the men of the task group from Kitty Hawk, President Kennedy told them that, as in the past, control of the seas still means security, peace and ultimate victory. He later wrote to president and Madame Chiang Kai-shek who had witnessed a similar demonstration on board Constellation: "I hope you were impressed as I was, on my visit to Kitty Hawk, with the great force for peace or war, which these mighty carriers and their accompanying escorts provide, helping to preserve the freedom of distant nations in all parts of the world."

LT Felix E. Templeton, of VF-114, flying a recently issued F-4B Phantom II, made the ship's 16,000th trap, in Aircraft No. 401, on 17 August 1963. [1]

Film director John Frankenheimer filmed shots for the movie Seven Days in May on board the vessel in 1963.

Following a series of strike exercises and tactics reaching along the California coast and off Hawaii, Kitty Hawk again sailed for the Far East. While approaching Japan, she learned an assassin had shot President Kennedy. Flags were at half mast as she entered Sasebo Harbor on 25 November 1963, the day of the President's funeral and, as senior ship present, she had the sad honor of firing memorial salutes. After cruising the South China Sea and ranging to the Philippines in readiness operations with the 7th Fleet, she returned to San Diego on 20 July 1964.

1965 to 1972 Edit

Kitty Hawk overhauled in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, then trained along the western seaboard. She sailed from San Diego on 19 October 1965, for Hawaii thence to Subic Bay, Philippines, where she prepared for combat operations off the coast of Vietnam.

Kitty Hawk returned to San Diego in June 1966 for overhaul and training until 4 November 1966, when she again deployed to serve in waters of Southeast Asia. Scenes from the 1966 Walt Disney comedy Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. were filmed aboard the warship.

Kitty Hawk arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on 19 November to relieve Constellation as flagship for Rear Admiral David C. Richardson, Commander Task Force 77. On 26 November, Kitty Hawk departed Yokosuka for Yankee Station via Subic Bay, and on 5 December, aircraft from Kitty Hawk began their around-the-clock missions over North Vietnam. About this time Kitty Hawk — already accustomed to celebrities as guests – entertained a number of prominent visitors: William Randolph Hearst Jr. Bob Considine Dr. Billy Graham Nancy Sinatra and John Steinbeck, among others. She remained in the Far East supporting the U.S. in Southeast Asia until departing Subic Bay on 28 May 1968. Steaming via Japan, the carrier reached San Diego on 19 June and a week later entered the naval shipyard at Long Beach for maintenance. Kitty Hawk returned to San Diego on 25 August and began a rigorous training program to prepare her for future action.

Kitty Hawk was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for exceptionally meritorious and heroic service from 23 December 1967 to 1 June 1968, which included the Tet Offensive, while participating in combat operations in Southeast Asia, and the Navy Unit Meritorious Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service from 15 January 1969 to 27 August 1969 while participating in combat operations in Southeast Asia and contingency operations in Northeast Asia. Both awards noted that the officers and men of the Kitty Hawk displayed undaunted spirit, courage, professionalism and dedication to maintain their ship as a fighting unit under the most arduous operating conditions to enable her pilots to destroy vital military targets in North Vietnam despite intense opposition and extremely adverse weather conditions.

Cruise: Nov 67 – Jun 68: Kitty Hawk had a fire in port Subic Bay, and went to general quarters for 51 hours. Had a plane crash on this cruise also, Jan 1968 lost Bill Reedy AO3 from "G" div. and two other men in that crash. Cruise: Nov 68 – Jun 69: After the cruise Kitty Hawk came back to San Diego for a month and then went to Puget Sound shipyard in Washington State Sept 1969 for dry dock.

On 12 October 1972 during the Vietnam War, Kitty Hawk was en route to her station in the Gulf of Tonkin when a race riot involving more than 200 sailors broke out. Nearly 50 sailors were injured in this widely publicized incident. [7] This incident resulted in a Congressional inquiry into discipline in the Navy.

1973 to 1977 Edit

From January through July 1973, Kitty Hawk changed home ports from San Diego to San Francisco. Kitty Hawk moved into dry dock on 14 January 1973, and work began to convert the ship from an attack (CVA) to a multi-mission carrier (CV). The "CV" designation indicated that Kitty Hawk was no longer strictly an attack carrier, in that anti-submarine warfare would also become a major role. Kitty Hawk became the first Pacific Fleet carrier to carry the multi-purpose "CV" designation. The conversion consisted of adding 10 new helicopter calibrating stations, installing sonar/sonobuoy readout and analysis center and associated equipment, and changing a large portion of the ship's operating procedures. One of the major equipment/space changes in the conversion was the addition of the Anti-Submarine Classification and Analysis Center (ASCAC) in the CIC area. ASCAC worked in close conjunction with the anti-submarine warfare aircraft assigned aboard Carrier Air Wing 11. During the yard period, the Engineering Department underwent a major change in its propulsion plant. The Navy Standard Oil (black oil) fuel system was completely converted to Navy Distillate Fuel. The Air Department added several major changes to the flight deck, including enlarging the jet blast deflectors (JBD) and installing more powerful catapults in order to handle the new Grumman F-14 Tomcat, which Kitty Hawk was standing by to receive for its next deployment. Enlarging JBD#1 meant the No. 1 Aircraft Elevator had to be redesigned, making Kitty Hawk the only carrier at the time having an aircraft elevator which tracked from the hangar deck to the flight deck angling out 6°. Kitty Hawk moved out of dry dock on 28 April 1973, and the next day, on her 12th birthday, was named a Multi-Purpose Aircraft Carrier (CV).

After much needed upgrades and modifications to Kitty Hawk ' s systems, she departed Hunters Point navy shipyards in San Francisco to begin "sea trial" exercises and then made a short three-day layover in Pearl Harbor for some crew R&R. She then departed for the South China Sea. However while en route, during routine maintenance to the ship's fuel oil systems in the No. 1 machinery room on 11 December 1973, a flange gasket failed in one of the fuel transfer tubes of JP5 that pass through Number 1 engine room. Jet fuel was sprayed, atomized, and ignited and the ship went to General Quarters for nearly 38 hours. Due to the massive amounts of thick black smoke the crew was ordered topside to flight deck until the fire could be controlled and smoke cleared. Because two and then three of the ship's four propulsion systems had to be shut down during the fire, Kitty Hawk began list to about 7 degrees portside and as a result many of the aircraft were moved starboard in an attempt to balance the ship until the fire was finally brought under control and two propulsion systems restored. Kitty Hawk then headed toward the Philippines where she ported in Subic Bay until the ship's damage could be assessed and repairs could be made, but there would be three days of waiting before reaching port. Six enlisted sailors died in the fire: FR Michael Deverich, FR Linn Schambers, FR Kevin Johnson, FA Alan Champine, Samuel Cardenas and FA Joseph Tulipana. Thirty-four sailors were treated for smoke inhalation and several minor injuries and one sailor for a broken wrist reported. The bodies of those men who died in the fire were escorted home by members of their respective Divisions for burial.

As a result of the deaths of the six crew members, on 10 January 1974 an investigation was ordered by Rear Admiral Donald C. Davis, Commander of Carrier Group 1 and Senior Officer on board Kitty Hawk designated as his flagship. Although initial reports lay blame to one of the six men who perished in the tragic fire, upon conclusion of the investigation filed by the Department of the Navy, Commander Seventh Fleet, several opinions on causes were noted within the investigation which included but not limited to the Fourth Endorsement on Captain Kenneth L. Shugart, USN. The investigative report of 10 January 1974, section 3, paragraph 3 stated "The replacement of the defective gasket in the strainer cover assembly by Fireman Apprentice Kevin W. Johnson (deceased) reflected, in the words of the investigating officer, poor judgment and unsound maintenance practices." Further "Fireman Apprentice Johnson was therefore negligent in the performance of his duties." However, in consonance with the investigating officer, the opinion is expressed that under the circumstances, the maintenance deficiencies noted herein constitute simple, rather than culpable, negligence."

In light of the efforts made by all six navy personnel, FA Cardenas, Champine and Tulipana, and FR Deverich, Schambers and Johnson assigned to the machinery room on 11 December 1973, who all died during the suppression efforts, "It has administratively been determined each were posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for their heroic devotion to duty in fighting the fire which is the subject of this investigative report." [8]

Kitty Hawk stayed busy throughout the mid-1970s with numerous deployments to the Western Pacific and involvement in a large number of exercises, including RIMPAC in 1973 and 1975. Kitty Hawk departed San Diego on 8 March 1976, and on 12 March entered dry dock at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, to commence a US$100 million complex overhaul, scheduled to last just more than 12 months. This overhaul configured Kitty Hawk to operate with the F-14 and S-3A "Viking" aircraft in a total CV sea control mode. This included adding spaces for storage, ordnance handling and maintenance facilities for the two aircraft. Also included in the work package were more efficient work areas for airframes and a repair facility for ground support equipment and the addition of avionics support capability for the S-3. The ship also replaced the Terrier Surface-to-Air missile system with the NATO Sea Sparrow system, and added elevators and modified weapons magazines to provide an increased capability for handling and stowing the newer, larger air-launched weapons. Kitty Hawk completed the overhaul in March 1977, and departed the shipyard 1 April of that year to return to San Diego. After a six-month pre-deployment workup, Kitty Hawk departed NAS North Island 25 October 1977 [9] for another Western Pacific Ocean deployment and returned 15 May 1978.

1979 to 1998 Edit

In May 1979, the ship teamed up with Carrier Air Wing 15 (CVW-15) [10] for another Western Pacific deployment. Her duties included search and assistance operations to aid refugees in small boats fleeing the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

During that deployment, Kitty Hawk also offered contingency support off the coast of Korea following the assassination of Republic of Korea President Park Chung Hee. The deployment was then extended two-and-a-half months to support contingency operations in the North Arabian Sea during the Iran hostage crisis. For their actions in the region, Kitty Hawk and CVW-15 were awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal.

Kitty Hawk had a cameo appearance in the 1980 movie The Final Countdown, standing in for Nimitz. On her way home from her Western Pacific deployment, Kitty Hawk was filmed entering Pearl Harbor with the crew manning the rails as the ship passed the USS Arizona Memorial. (At the time of the filming, Nimitz was still an Atlantic Fleet, vice Pacific Fleet, aircraft carrier.) Kitty Hawk returned to San Diego in late February 1980 and was also awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Naval Air Force Pacific Battle Efficiency "E" Award as the best carrier in the Pacific Fleet.

In April 1981, Kitty Hawk left San Diego for her thirteenth deployment to the Western Pacific. Following the cruise, the crew was awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal for the rescue of Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea.

In January 1982, Kitty Hawk returned to Bremerton for another year-long overhaul. Following the comprehensive upgrade and a vigorous training period with Carrier Air Wing 2, Kitty Hawk deployed in 1984 as the flagship for Battle Group Bravo. Kitty Hawk logged more than 62,000 mi (100,000 km) on this deployment and remained at "Station Gonzo" in the north Arabian Sea for more than 60 consecutive days.

In March 1984, Kitty Hawk participated in "Team Spirit" exercises in the Sea of Japan. The Soviet Victor-class nuclear attack submarine K-314 shadowed the task group. On 21 March 1984, at the end of the Sea of Japan part of the exercise, K-314 surfaced directly in front of Kitty Hawk, time was 22:05, too dark and far too close for Kitty Hawk to see and avoid the resulting collision, with minor damage to the aircraft carrier, and significant damage to the Soviet submarine. At the time of the accident, Kitty Hawk is estimated to have carried several dozen nuclear weapons, and K-314 probably carried two nuclear torpedoes. Kitty Hawk was thereafter considered the first antisubmarine carrier weapon and a red submarine was painted on her island near the bridge but was ordered removed upon return to home port North Island San Diego, CA. [11] [12]

Kitty Hawk went to the U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay in the Philippines for repairs. A piece of one of K-314 ' s propellers was embedded in Kitty Hawk ' s bow, as were some chunks of the Soviet anechoic coating, from scraping along the side of the submarine. The result was something of an "accidental" intelligence coup for the U.S. Navy.

The ship returned to San Diego on 1 August 1984. Seven months later, Kitty Hawk was awarded another Battle Efficiency "E" Award.

In July 1985, Kitty Hawk and CVW-9 deployed again as flagship for Battle Group Bravo. Kitty Hawk and CVW-9 combined to set a standard for operations, completing their second consecutive fatality-free deployment.

In August 1985, People Magazine printed an article stating that Kitty Hawk's missiles and jet parts were illegally smuggled into Iran, at that time considered a hostile nation, as revealed by Kitty Hawk's Petty Officer Robert W Jackson. [13] Later, the FBI arrested 7 suspects involved in this smuggling scheme, [14] an event related to what was later known as the Iran-Contra scandal.

CVW-9 crews logged more than 18,000 flight hours and 7,300 arrested landings while Kitty Hawk maintained her catapults and arresting gear at 100 percent availability.

In 1986, during pre-cruise exercises, one Airman was killed during flight operations when he was struck by an aircraft while checking "elongs" during a launch.

Kitty Hawk bid farewell to San Diego on 3 January 1987, as the ship departed her home port of 25 years and set out on a six-month world cruise. During the circumnavigation, Kitty Hawk and CVW-9 again showed their commitment to safety by conducting a third fatality-free deployment . Kitty Hawk spent 106 consecutive days on station in the Indian Ocean and was again awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for its service. The world cruise ended at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 3 July. Six months later, Kitty Hawk began a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) overhaul. Kitty Hawk emerged from the yards on 2 August 1990. The overhaul was estimated to have added 20 years of service to the ship. The Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department was also awarded the Air Forces, US Pacific Fleet Departmental Excellence Award, the Black "E" for this deployment.

With the return of CVW-15 to its decks, Kitty Hawk began its second deployment around "the Horn" of South America to her original home port of San Diego on 11 December 1991, performing Gringo-Gaucho with the Argentine Naval Aviation during the transit.

On 1 August 1992, Kitty Hawk was appointed as Naval Air Force Pacific's "ready carrier." The ship embarked Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group 5 Commander, Destroyer Squadron 17 and CVW-15 for three months of work-ups before deploying to the Western Pacific on 3 November 1992. While on deployment, Kitty Hawk spent nine days off the coast of Somalia supporting U.S. Marines and coalition forces involved in Operation Restore Hope. In response to increasing Iraqi violations of United Nations sanctions, the ship rushed to the Persian Gulf on 27 December 1992. Just 17 days later, Kitty Hawk led a joint coalition offensive strike against designated targets in southern Iraq.

Kitty Hawk set sail on her 17th deployment 24 June 1994, with the goal of providing a stabilizing influence operating in the Western Pacific during a time of great tension in the Far East, particularly concerning North Korea. This would be the last cruise for VA-52 flying the A-6E SWIP Intruder. During the cruise, the Carrier led the first ASW persecution of both the Han Class and Oscar II Class Submarine [15] (Most likely the Oscar II was K-442 [16] ). During the ASW hunt of the Han Class Submarine of the PLA Navy, a standoff ensured between the United States and PRC leading to several PLAAF fighter aircraft flying near Kitty Hawk's S-3 Viking ASW aircraft from VS-37. Eventually both sides backed down. [17]

In 1995, Kitty Hawk embarked airwing transitioned to CVW-11, marking a change to a single F-14 squadron, and 3 F/A-18 squadrons. [18]

Kitty Hawk began her 18th deployment, this time with CVW-11, in October 1996. During the six-month underway period, the ship visited ports in the Persian Gulf and Western Pacific. The carrier made a rare visit to Hobart, Tasmania as well as being only the second carrier to ever stop in Manama, Bahrain. [18] Kitty Hawk returned to San Diego 11 April 1997, immediately beginning a 15-month, $110 million overhaul, including three months in dry dock in Bremerton, from January to March 1998.


Griffyclan007's Blog

USS Wisconsin (BB-9), an Illinois-class battleship, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 30th state.

USS Wisconsin (B-9), Under Construction

USS Wisconsin, under construction by Union Iron Works (1897)

The keel of Battleship No. 9 was laid down on February 9th, 1897 at San Francisco, California, by the Union Iron Works. She was launched on November 26th, 1898, sponsored by Miss Elizabeth Stephenson, the daughter of Senator Isaac Stephenson of Marinette, Wisconsin, and commissioned on February 1901, Captain George C. Reiter in command.

Pre-World War I

Departing San Francisco on March 12th, 1901, Wisconsin conducted general drills and exercises at Magdalena Bay, Mexico from March 17th – April 11th, before she returned to San Francisco on April 15th to be drydocked for repairs. Upon completion of that work, Wisconsin headed north along the Western seaboard, departing San Francisco on May 28th and reaching Port Orchard, Washington on June 1st. She remained there for nine days before heading back toward San Francisco.

She next made a voyage in company with Oregon, Iowa, Philadelphia, and Farragut to the Pacific Northwest, reaching Port Angeles, Washington on June 29th. She then shifted to Port Whatcom, Washington on July 2nd, and participated in July 4th observances there before she returned to Port Angeles the following day to resume her scheduled drills and exercises. Those evolutions kept the ship occupied through mid-July. Following repairs and alterations at the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington from July 23rd – October 14th, Wisconsin sailed for the middle and southern reaches of the Pacific, reaching Honolulu, Hawaii on October 23rd. After coaling there, the battleship then got underway for Samoa on October 26th and exercised her main and secondary batteries en route to her destination.

Reaching the naval station at Tutuila on November 5th, Wisconsin remained in that vicinity – along with Abarenda and Solace – for a little over two weeks. Shifting to Apia, the scene of the disastrous hurricane of 1888, Wisconsin hosted the Governor of German Samoa before the man-of-war departed that port on November 21st, bound for the coastal waters of Central and South America via Hawaii.

Wisconsin reached Acapulco, Mexico, on Christmas Day 1901, and remained in port for three days. After coaling, the man-of-war twice visited Callao, Peru, and also called at Valparaiso, Chile, before she returned to Acapulco on February 1902.

Wisconsin exercised in Mexican waters at Pichilinque Bay and Magdalena Bay from March 6th-22nd, carrying out an intensive and varied slate of exercises that included small-arms drills, day and night main battery target practices, and landing force maneuvers. She conducted further drills of various kinds as she proveeded up the west coast, touching at Coronado, California, San Francisco, and Port Angeles before she reached the Puget Sound Navy Yard on June 4th.

This battleship underwent repairs and alterations until August 11th. She then conducted gunnery exercises off Tacoma, Washington, and Seattle, Washington, before she returned to the Puget Sound Navy Yard on August 29th for further work. She remained there until September 12th, when she sailed for San Francisco, en route to Panama.

Wisconsin, as flagship, Pacific Squadron, with Rear Admiral Silas Casey embarked, arrived at Panama, Colombia on September 30th, to protect American interests and to preserve the integrity of transit across the isthmus. Casey offered his services as a mediator in the Thousand Days War, which had lasted for three years and invited leaders fo both factions, Conservatives and Liberals, to meet onboard Wisconsin. Over succeeding weeks – through October and into November – prolonged negotiations ensued. Ultimately, however, the warring sides came to an agreement, and signed a treaty on November 21st. The accord came to be honored, in Colombian circles, as “The Peace of Wisconsin“. When Rear Admiral Henry Glass, Admiral Casey’s successor as Commander in Chief, Pacific Squadron, wrote his report to the Secretary of the Navy for fiscal year 1903, he lauded his predecessor’s diplomatic services during the Panama crisis. “The final settlement of the revolutionary disturbance,” Glass wrote approvingly, “was largely due to his efforts.”

Her task completed, the battleship departed Panama’s waters on November 22nd and arrived at San Francisco on December 6th to prepare for gunnery exercises. Four days later, Rear Admiral Casey shifted his flag to New York, thus releasing Wisconsin from flagship duty for the Pacific Squadron. The battleship consequently carried out her firings until December 17th, when she sailed for Bremerton. Reaching the Puget Sound Navy Yard five days before December 25th, Wisconsin then underwent repairs and alterations until May 19th, 1903, when she sailed for the Asiatic Station.

Proceeding via Honolulu, Wisconsin arrived at Yokohama, Japan on June 12th, with Rear Admiral Yates Stirling embarked. Three days later, Rear Admiral Stirling exchanged flagships with Rear Admiral P.H. Cooper who broke his two-starred flag at Wisconsin’s main as Commander of the Asiatic Fleet’s Northern Squadron while Admiral Stirling hoisted his in the tender Rainbow.

Wisconsin operated in the Far East, with the Asiatic Fleet, over the next three years before she returned to the United States in the autumn of 1906. She followed a normal routine of operations in the northern latitudes of the station – China and Japan – in the summer monthes, because of the oppressive heat of the Philippine Islands that time of the year, but in the Philippine Archipelago in the winter. She touched at ports in Japan and China including Kobe, Yokohama, Nagasaki, and Yokosuka Amoy, Shanghai, Chefoo, Nanking, and Taku. In addition, she cruised the Yangtze River as far as Nanking, the Inland Sea, and Nimrod Sound. The battleship conducted assigned fleet maneuvers and exercises off the Chinese and Philippine coasts intervening those evolutions with regular periods of in-port upkeep and repairs. During that time, she served as Asiatic Fleet flagship, wearing the flag of Rear Admiral Cooper.

The battleship departed Yokohama on September 20th, and after calling at Honolulu en route from October 3rd-8th, arrived at San Francisco on October 18th. After seven days stay at that port, she headed up the west coast and reached the Puget Sound Navy Yard on October 28th. She was decommissioned there on November 16th, 1906.

Recommissioned on April 1st, 1908, Captain Henry Morrell in command, Wisconsin was fitted out at the Puget Sound Navy Yard until the end of April. After shifting to Port Angeles from April 30th – May 2nd, the battleship proceeded down the western seaboard and reached Sand Francisco on May 6th to participate in a fleet review at that port. She subsequently returned to Puget Sound to complete the installation of her fire control equipment from May 21st – June 22nd.

Soon thereafter, Wisconsin retraced her southward course, returning to San Francisco in early July. There, she joined the battleships of the Atlantic Fleet in setting out on the transpacific leg of the momentous circumnavigation of the globe. The cruise of the “Great White Fleet” served as a pointed reminder to Japan of the power of the United States – a dramatic gesture made by President Theodore Roosevelt as a signal evidence of his “big stick” policy. Wisconsin, during the course of her part of the voyage, called at ports in New Zealand, Austrailia, the Philippines, Japan, China, Ceylon, and Egypt transited the Suez Canal visited Malta, Algiers, and Gibraltar before arriving in Hampton Roads on Washington’s Birthday 1909, and passing in review there before President Roosevelt. The epic voyage had confounded the doom-sayers and critics, having been accomploshed without any serious incidents or mishaps.

Wisconsin departed from the Tidewater area on March 6th and arrived at the Portmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine three days later. The pre-dreadnought battleship there underwent repairs and alterations until June 23rd, doffing her bright “white and spar color” and donning a more business like gray. The man-of-war joined the Atlantic Fleet in Hampton Roads at the end of June, but she remained in those waters only a short time before she sailed north to Portland, Maine, arriving there on July 2nd in time to take part in the Fourth of July festivities in that port.

Target practice on the Wisconsin’s 1-inch guns (flanks near stern)

The battleship next headed down the eastern seaboard, cruising off Rockport, Massachusetts and Provincetown, Massachusetts before she returned, with the fleet, to Hampton Roads on August 6th. Over the ensuing weeks, Wisconsin fired target practices in the southern drill grounds, off the Virginia capes, breaking those underway periods with upkeep in Hampton Roads.

Wisconsin steamed with the fleet to New York City where she anchored in the North River to take part the Hudson-Fulton Celebration from September 22nd – October 5th before she underwent repairs at the Portsmouth Navy Yard from October 7th – November 28th. She then dropped down to Newport, Rhode Island, upon the conclusion of that years period, picking up drafts of men for transportation to the Atlantic Fleet at Hampton Roads.

Wisconsin operated with the fleet off the Virginia capes through mid-December, before she headed for New York for the Christmas holidays in port. Subsequently cruising to Cuban waters in early January 1910, the battleship operated out of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base from January 12th – March 19.

The pre-dreadnought battleship then visited Tomkinsville, New York, and New Orleans, Louisiana, before she discharged ammunition at New York City on April 22nd. Later that spring, 1910, she moved to the Portsmouth Navy Yard, where she was placed in reserve. She was moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in April 1912 and, that autumn, took part in a naval review off Yonkers, New York, before resuming her reserve status until Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Placed “in ordinary” on October 1913, Wisconsin remained in that status until she joined the United States Naval Academy Practice Squadron the spring of 1915 assuming training duties along with Missouri and Ohio. With that group, she become the third battleship to transit the Panama Canal, making that trip mid-July 1915 en route to the west coast of the United States with her embarked officers-to-be.

World War I

Wisconsin discharged her duties as a midshipman’s training ship into 1917 and was moored at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on April 6th of that year when she received word that the United States had declared war on Germany. Two days later, members of the Naval Militia began reporting on baord the battleship for quarter and subsistence.

On April 23rd, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Ohio were placed in full commissioned and assigned to the Coast Battleship Patrol Squadron. On May 2nd, Commander David F. Sellers reported onboard and took command. Four days later, the battleship got underway for the Virginia capes and she arrived at Yorktown, Virginia on May 7th.

From early May-early August, Wisconsin operated as an engineering school ship on training cruises in the Chesapeake Bay-York River area. She trained recruits as oilers, watertenders, and firemen, who, when qualified, were assigned to the formerly interned merchantmen of the enemy taken over by the United States upon the declaration of war, as well as to submarine chasers and the merchant vessels then building in American yards.

Wisconsin then maneuvered and exercised in company with Kearsarge, Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, and Maine from August 13-19, en route to Port Jefferson, New York. Over the ensuring weeks, Wisconsin continued training and tactical maneuvers based on Port Jefferson, making various training cruises into Long island Sound.

She subsequently returned to the York River region early in October and resumed her training activities in that locale, operating primarily in the Chesapeake Bay area. Wisconsin continued that duty into the spring of 1918, interrupting her training evolutions from October 30th – December 18 for repairs at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

After another stint of repairs at Philadelphia from May 13-June 3rd, 1918, Wisconsin got underway for a cruise to Annapolis, Maryland, but after passing the Brandywine Shoal Light, received orders to stick close to shore. Those orders were later modified to send Wisconsin up the Delaware River as far as Bombay Hook, since an enemy submarine was active off Cape Henlopen. Postwar examination of German records would show that U-151, the first of six enemy submarines to come to the eastern seaboard in 1918, sank three schooners on May 23rd and other ships over ensuing days.

Getting underway again on June 6th, Wisconsin arrived at Annapolis on the following day. One the next day, the battleship embarked 176 third-class midshipmen and got underway for the York River. the ship conducted training evolutions in the Chesapeake Bay region until August 29th, when she returned to Annapolis and disembarked midshipmen. Underway for Yorktown on August 30th, Wisconsin there embarked 217 men for training as firemen, water tenders, engineers, steersmen and signalmen, resumed her training duties, and continued the task through the signing of the armistice.

Inter-war period

Wisconsin completed her training activities on December 20th, sailed north, and reached New York City three days before Christmas. Wisconsin was among the ships reviewed by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels from Mayflower and by Assistant of the Navy Franklin Delanto Roosevelt from Aztec on December 26th.

Wisconsin cruised with the fleet in Cuban waters that winter, and in the summer of 1919 made a midshipman training cruise to the Caribbean.

Placed out of commission on May 15th, 1920, Wisconsin was reclassified BB-9 on July 17th, while awaiting disposition. She was sold for scrap on January 26th, 1922 as a result of the Washington Naval Treaty.

Wisconsin was part of the “Great White Fleet”.

USS Wisconsin in Australia (1908)


USS GUAM LPH-9 Covers Page 1

 
Each entry provides a link to the image of the front of the cover. There is also the option to have a link to the image of the back of the cover if there is anything of significance there. Finally, there is the primary date for the cover and the classification types for all postmarks based on the Locy System.

Thumbnail Link
To Cachet
Close-Up Image
Thumbnail Link
To Full
Cover Front Image
Thumbnail Link
To Postmark
or Back Image
Postmark Date
Postmark Type
Killer Bar Text
---------
Cachet Category

1964-08-22
USPO Duplex Postmark
U.S. Naval Base Sta.
Philadelphia PA

1965-01-16
Locy Type FDC 2(n+)(USS)

Cachet by Admiral Farragut Chapter No. 3, USCS. Contributed by Tom Kean.

1971-02-08
Locy Type 2t(n+u) (USS)

1972-01-08
Locy Type 2(n+) (USS)
Locy Type 9ef(n+u)

USPS Slogan Machine Cancel
Norfolk VA

Testing of the USS GUAM as a SCS ship

Cachet by the USS America Chapter No. 71, USCS.
SCS was "Sea Control Ship", a test program conducted by the US Navy from 18 January 1972 to 1 July 1974.

1976-06-12
Locy Type 2-1(n+) (USS)
USCS Postmark Catalog Illus. G-60

Port visit Port Everglades

1980-02-26
Locy Type 2-1(n+) (USS,USN)
USCS Postmark Catalog Illus. G-60a

1985-01-16
Locy Type 2-1(n+)(D2,USN,USS)

20th Anniversary of the
Commissioning of USS Guam LPH-9

1991-04-20
Locy Type 2-1(n+)(USN,USS)
USCS Postmark Catalog Illus. G-60b
Locy Type 9-1(n+u) (USN,USS)

1992-11-03
Locy Type Meter OFR1 (#520385) ZIP 09563

1998-08-25
USPS Pictorial Postmark
LAST DAY IN / COMISSSION / STATION
Norfolk, VA 23511

Back of the cover has rubber stamp of Charles B Hall but not sure what role, if any, he had in creating the cachet.


Dive Sites

N orth Carolina diving is best known for its collection of shipwrecks. In addition, there are offshore ledges and shore diving locations that bear mentioning. Listed below are descriptions of the sites we frequent most often. (Above photos by Jim Lyle)

Wreck Chart - This is a chart of all of our Charter Destinations.

Shipwrecks & More

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Liberty Ship
Size: 441' x 57' x 37'
History: The actual name of The Liberty Ship is the Theodore Parker. The Theodore Parker was built in March of 1943 and made several crossings of the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. Her main cargo was food and material for the war effort. On November 16, 1944, the Theodore Parker left Hull, England bound for New York. As she was 75 miles from the mouth of the Humber River, she struck a mine. She returned to Hull and remained there for three months while repairs were carried out. On February 23, 1945, she left Hull and arrived in New York on March 9, 1945. After the war, she was placed in the Merchant Marine Reserve Fleet on the James River.

Sinking: In 1974, the Theodore Parker was bought by the state of North Carolina to be used in the artificial reef program. The superstructure was cut away so the second deck became her top deck. The Theodore Parker was sunk on June 4, 1974.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Beginner
Depth: 30 - 60 ft.
Visibility: Generally 15-20feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Theodore Parker is a 441 foot long liberty ship and is resting in 60 feet of water with the highest decks at 30 feet. It is about 4 miles southwest of Beaufort Inlet and a mile and a half off of the beach. Because of the close proximity to the beach, visibility is usually 15-20 feet.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Brazilian freighter
Size: 338' x 54 'x 10'
History: Constructed in Germany, the Suloide was originally named the Maceio and later renamed the Amassia. Only after she was sold to Lloyd Brasileiro, was she renamed the Suloide. In March of 1943, the Suloide was loaded with manganese ore in Trinidad and bound for New York before she sank 12 miles from Beaufort Inlet.

Sinking: The Suloide sank on 26 March 1943 after colliding with the hull of the sunken SS Papoose. Deemed a navigational hazard, she was wire dragged by the US Coast Guard in 1944.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 65 ft.
Visibility: Generally 20-50 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Suloide is an inshore wreck and as such, is a common second dive or an alternative first dive when conditions prohibit traveling offshore. As a result of being wire-dragged, the wreck consists of a large debris field that makes navigation more challenging. Yet, although though the Suloide is not intact, there is a distinct outline of the wreck in which plates and beams are scattered around the bottom and prominent boilers. Schools of sheepshead and spade fish are common, as are flounder and seabass.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 412' x 52' x 25'
Sinking: About 11:30 p.m. on the evening of March 18th the lookout spotted a torpedo from the U-124 a split second before it struck the starboard bow of the ship. Eight minutes after the first strike, a second torpedo struck the heavily laden tanker amidships on the port side, catching her cargo of fuel on fire. Captain Flaathen was cut by flying glass and ordered the ship abandoned. The ship drifted for about 45 minutes before sinking beneath the waves. There were 23 survivors and 13 crewmen lost their lives. The surviving crewmen were picked up at daylight the following morning by the British ship Port Halifax.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 70 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-40 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The W.E. Hutton is 13.8 miles from the Beaufort Inlet. The wreck rests in 70 feet of water and there is not much relief on this wreck. This wreck is frequently visited by divers and is also visited by fishermen. There is an abundance of coral growth on the wreck and is home to many fish. This is a prime place to spear fishing for flounder and other game fish. Near the bow area are two large anchors to the north and the engine, rudder, and pair of boilers near the stern. Due to the lack of reference points, a wreck reel comes in handy for navigation. The Hutton is still an enjoyable dive fairly close to shore. It is a good wreck to dive on the way in from deeper ones or when the weather will not permit journey to wrecks farther out.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Trawler
Size: 165''
History: After the United States entered World War II, the British sent over the Senateur Duhamel to protect conveys from German U-Boats. On May 6, 1942, the Senateur Duhamel was headed toward the Beaufort Inlet in a light haze. She spotted another ship, the USS Semmes, about a mile away and flashed the message "What Ship?" The light temporarily blinded the crew of the USS Semmes. Before a reply could be sent, the bow of the USS Semmes rammed into the Senateur Duhamel amidships. The USS Semmes called over to see if the Senateur Duhamel wanted to send any one over before they backed away. The Senateur Duhamel didn't want to transfer anyone over and the USS Semmes backed away to a distance of a half of a mile. The USS Roper, a destroyer was called for assistance.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 65 ft.
Visibility: Generally 10-15 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The wreck is mostly flat except for the boilers, which are the highest parts. Deck plates, conduits, pipes, and concrete slabs are scattered about the wreck.

Due to the closeness to the shoals, the visibility averages 10-15 feet. The bottom is silty and can be stirred up very easily by a diver's fins. The water temperature is usually in the upper 70's and low 80's during the summer. Sheephead, spadefish, sea bass, grouper, and flounder can be found on this wreck.

Additional Info
VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Freighter
Size: 298'
History: The Ea was originally named the Cambay. Originally built in England, the Ea was operated out of Spain.

Sinking: On March 15, 1902 as she was nearing Cape Lookout in a dense fog. The Ea was at the tip of the shoals when she ran aground. The sea was calm and flat as Captain W. V. Garry gave the order for full astern, but the Ea didn't budge. They tried again at high tide, but the results were the same.On March 17, 1902, the gale was still blowing and the seas were still pounding the Ea. The water tanks had ruptured during the night and now the crew was without any drinking water. Even though the seas were still breaking around the Ea, the Algonquin and the Alexander Jones were still trying to reach them. The men at the Life Saving Station had launched a boat and were standing by in the hopes that the breakers subside enough to allow them to get to the Ea. To help the men save their strength, the Alexander Jones towed the boat as close as possible to the Ea.

By that afternoon, the Ea had been broken completely apart and all but one of the lifeboats had been crushed by the pounding waves. The waves were washing across the decks and carrying away any item that wasn't secured. To get away from the waves, the crew was huddled on top of the bridge.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 30 ft.
Visibility: Generally 20-30 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Ea is a 298 foot long freighter and is resting in 30 feet of water. It is about 18 miles southeast of the Beaufort Inlet. The bow is pointed up toward the surface and is about 20 feet from the surface. The engine is the only relief on the stern. The sand around the shoals has a tendency to shift with the currents causing the amount of the wreck exposed to change. At times, only the bow is visible, but sometimes the propeller shaft and some of the blades of the propeller can be visible.

During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Because it is close to the shoals, visibility averages 20 feet, but can get up to 40-50 feet. The ship rests on a nice sandy bottom. Sheephead, triggerfish, sea bass, and spadefish frequent his wreck. Moderate currents are common to this wreck.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Menhaden Fshing Trawler
Size: 125'
Sinking: On December 7, 1968, the Fenwick Isle foundered in a storm and sank on the southern tip of the shoals at Cape Lookout.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 65 ft.
Visibility: Generally 15-20 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Fenwick Isle is in 65 feet of water about 15 miles southeast of the Beaufort Inlet and a mile southwest from the Knuckle Buoy. The Fenwick Isle is intact lying on her port side rising to 35 feet from the surface.

Because she is so close to the shoals, visibility is usually 15-20 feet. The water temperature is usually in the upper 70's to low 80's in the summer. Sheephead, spadefish, sea bass, grouper, and flounder can be seen on this wreck. There is an "S" welded to the smokestack that is surrounded by small pegs.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Cable repair ship
Size: 450' x 58' x 17'
History: Commissioned 18 June 1945, the Aeolus began as the attack cargo ship (AKA) Turandot. After spending the final months of WWII transporting troops and cargo throughout the Pacific theater, she was decommissioned on 17 April 1947. In 1954, Turandot was reoutfitted as a cable repair ship and recommissioned as the Aeolus (ARC-3). In her following 20 years of service, she operated in both the Atlantic and Pacific before being transferred to Miltary Sealift Command in October 1973 to be operated by a civilservice crew. She was renamed the USNS Aeolus until her final decommissioning in May 1985.

Sinking: The Aeolus was sunk in July 1988 as part of North Carolina's artificial reef program.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 90-110 ft.
Visibility: Generally 40-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Aeolus is a popular second dive on a full-day charter. She is home to the full array of offshore marine life, including sand tiger sharks that can often be found inside the cable storage compartment. Take note, however, that the wreck is in 3 pieces making navigation potentially difficult, especially in lower visibility. The Aeolus does offer limited penetration.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Vessel Type: USCG Cutter
Size:
185' x 30'
History: Commissioned 12 June 1944, the Spar began as an anti-submarine vessel engaged in convoy duty off the coast of Brazil. After the war, the Spar conducted hydrographic operations throughout the Northwest Passage where she held the unique distinction of being the first US vessel to circumnavigate the North American continent. She spent the 1980s and 90s as a Class "C" Seagoing Bouy Tender before being decommissioned on 28 February 1997.

Sinking: The Spar was sunk in June 2004 as part of North Carolina's artificial reef program.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Depth: 70-110 ft.
Visibility: Generally 50-80 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: With its swirling bait fish, resident school of spade fish, patrolling pelagics, and popularity with sand tiger sharks, the Spar has emerged as one of North Carolina's most popular dives. The wreck is also relatively shallow, fully intact, and penetrable, making it the ideal site for new, as well as experienced, wreck divers.

Photos courtesy of Ken Bondy and John Galbreath

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Type VIIC German U-boat
Size: 218' x 20' x 15'
History: Kapitänleutnant Helmut Rathke and the U-352 departed St. Nazaire, France on 7 April 1942 as part of Operation Paukenschlag (Drumbeat), Hitler's WWII assault on the US eastern seaboard. She arrived off the North Carolina coast in early May. Despite firing a total of 6 torpedoes, the U-352 failed to sink or disable any Allied vessels.

Sinking: On 9 May, the U-352 was spotted by USCG Icarus who fired 5 depth charges, severely damaging the vessel and forcing it to the surface. The Icarus continued to attack with its machine guns as the crew attempted to abandon ship. 17 crewmen were killed and the rest were taken to Charleston as prisoners of war. The U-352 sank with several crewmembers onboard.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 90-110 ft.
Visibility: Generally 40-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The U-352 has long secured its position as the most popular dive in North Carolina. Despite her corroded outer hull, she remains almost completely intact and, as such, is an impressive sight even for the most experienced wreck diver. Schooling baitfish and amberjacks hover above the wreck, and the hull is home to smaller fish, sponges, and coral. Rays and turtles are commonly sighted. Penetration is strongly discouraged.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: German gunboat
Size: 254' x 32' x 14'
History: Originally the German vessel, SMS Geier, built in 1894, she was seized by the US military in Honolulu at the onset of WWI. Renamed the USS Schurz after Carl Schurz, a German refugee who fled Germany during the 1848 Revolution and who eventually became the US Secretary of the Interior, she served briefly in WWI as a submarine escort before she sank en route from New York to Key West.

Sinking: The USS Schurz sank on 21 June 1918 in a collision with the SS Florida. 214 survivors, 1 crewman killed.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 100-115 ft.
Visibility: Generally 50-100 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: Located offshore, approximately 28 miles from Beaufort Inlet, the Schurz is a popular first dive site. As a WWI era gunboat, The wreck of the Schurz varies substantially from many of NC's other sites. The boilers remain intact, ammunition is strewn about, and a deck gun lies in the sand. Navigation on the Schurz can be difficult due to the astounding number of baitfish that often blanket the site. Sightings of large stingrays, cobia, turtles, and sand tiger sharks are very common.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 453' x 56' x 27'
History: Built in 1920 by Bethleham Shipbuilding Corporation, the Papoose (Hutton) was originally commissioned as the Portola Plumas. At the time of her sinking, Captain Carl Flaathen and the Papoose (W.E. Hutton) were traveling alone and unarmed from Smith's Bluff, TX to Marcus Hook, PA with 65,000 barrels of #2 heating oil. The wreck of the Hutton was initially thought to be that of the SS Papoose, it's identity confirmed so recently that the site is still officially referred to as the Papoose.

Sinking: The Papoose (Hutton) was torpedoed by by KL Mohr and the U-124 and sunk on 18 March 1942. 23 survivors were rescued by the Port Halifax and taken to Savannah, GA. 13 crewmembers were killed in the attack.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 90-120 ft.
Visibility: Generally 50-80 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Papoose used to be the most popular site for sand tiger sharks, but has been recently usurped by the USCG Spar. A large wreck, partially intact, and upside down, the Hutton has several prominent structural features including a large anchor still attached to the bow and an impressive propellor. It's home to all the usual offshore suspects including turtles, jacks, stingrays, and sand tiger sharks.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 428' x 53' x 25'
History: The Naeco was built in 1918 by the Bethlahem Shipbuilding Company in Wilmington, Deleware. At the time of her sinking, the Naeco was owned by Charles Kurz & Company out of Philadelphia. A single screw reciprocating steam engine with a maximum speed of 10 knots, she was traveling alone and unarmed with from Houston to NJ with a cargo of fuel oil.

Sinking: The sinking of the Naeco on 23 March 1942, was one of NC's most catastrophic. A torpedo from the infamous U-124 ignited the fuel in the cargo holds setting fire to the vessel and killing 24 of 38 crewmembers.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Advanced
Depth: 120-140 ft.
Visibility: Generally 60-100 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The bow and stern of the Naeco lie a few miles from one another, indicative of the sheer destruction inflicted by the German submarine. The stern has more relief and is therefore visited more often. A vibrant reef, the Naeco is home to a wide variety of marine life. In addition to above-average visibility, this site is also known for its sharks, boasting not only sand tigers, but often black tips and sand bars. Unfortunately, the Naeco is a deeper dive which does substantially limit bottom time.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 401' x 54' x 24'
History: The Cassimir was built in 1920 at Hog Island Shipyard as part of a "rapid shipbuilding" program designed to meet WWI shipping needs, though she was not completed in time for use during the war. Instead, she was sold to the Curtis Bay Copper and Island Works and converted to a general cargo ship. On a foggy night, February 26, 1942, the Cassimir sailed full speed around Frying Pan Shoals, enroute from Santiago, Cuba, to Baltimore, Maryland with a cargo of molasses.

Sinking: The Cassimir sank following a collision with the SS Lara. 32 members of the crew abandoned the ship in lifeboats and were rescued by the Lara, then transported to Charleston. 5 crew members were killed.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 85-120 ft.
Visibility: Generally 70-100 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: Also known as the "WR-2 Wreck", the bow is pointing up toward the sky and the anchors are still in place. There is a small sandy area that separates the bow from the other sections of the wreck. There is a lot of structure remaining including I-beams, a flat deck that once contained the pilothouse, and other decks separated by cargo holds. The stern section is intact, pointing upward, and listing to port. Some of the hull plates are missing which allows the divers to look into the ship. Large schools of amberjack and spadefish swim around the wreck and coronet and other tropical fish are seen regularly.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Freighter
Size: 298'
History: The Portland was originally called the Jacox. In 1942, the Portland was operating along the Pacific coast. In January of 1943, she started operating in the Atlantic Ocean. Her first Atlantic trip was from Philadelphia to Havana.

Sinking: On February 11, 1943, she got caught in a storm and ran aground on the shoals of Cape Lookout. All of the crew abandoned ship before the seas battered and broke the ship.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 55 ft.
Visibility: Generally 15-25 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Portland is a 289 foot long freighter and is resting in 55 feet of water. It is about 18 miles southeast of the Beaufort Inlet. It is also known as the "P Wreck". The stern is on its port side and is mostly intact. The propeller can usually be seen sticking up out of the sand. There is a compartment on the stern that still contains .50-caliber and some 2-inch rounds. There is a mast that is lying between the stern and the bow. The bow is pointed up toward the surface and is about 25 feet from the surface and still has 2 anchors still in place.

During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Because it is close to the shoals, visibility averages 20 feet, but can get up to 40-50 feet. The ship rests on a nice sandy bottom. Sheephead, triggerfish, sea bass, and spadefish frequent his wreck. Moderate currents are common to this wreck.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 412' x 52' x 25'
History: The Ashkhabad was a Russian tanker built originally as a freighter in Scotland in 1917. On April 29, 1942, she was being escorted by the ASW Trawler Lady Elsa while traveling in ballast from NY to Cuba.

Sinking: The tanker was torpedoed by the U-402 on its starboard side, sinking its stern. The crew abandoned ship, was rescued by the Lady Elsa, and taken to Morehead City. While salvage attempts were scheduled, the destroyer USS Semmes DD-189 and the HMS St. Zeono, with standing orders to "sink wrecks that might be a menace to navigation", shelled the vessel, sinking it completely.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 55 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-40 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: Lying on a sandy bottom, the high parts of this wreck are the boilers and the condenser. Some of the ribs of the ship can also be seen in the section forward of the boilers and deck plates and twisted beams are scattered about the wreck. Sheepshead, triggerfish, sea bass, and spadefish frequent this wreck. Because it is close the shoals, visibility is lower and moderate currents are common.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Coast Guard Cutter/Menhaden Fishing Vessel
Size: 170'
History: The Verbena was originally a 170-foot long US Coast Guard buoy tender. The ship was decommissioned and sold to become the menhaden fishing vessel Nancy Lee.

Sinking: In 1989, the vessel was sunk as an artificial reef in 60 feet of water east of Cape Lookout, inshore of the Caribsea.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 65 ft.
Visibility: Generally 20-25 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Verbena is an intact wreck in relatively shallow water. The sandy bottom is about 60 feet deep and the wreck rises to within 25 feet of the surface. It is a successful artificial reef covered in fish life year round. It is center cabin vessel with little opportunity for penetration. On the bow of the vessel is a large cargo hold open to the sea, there is another large open bay on the stern of the ship.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Cargo freigher
Size: 261' x 44' x 24'
History: Built in 1919 by the McDougall-Duluth Shipbuilding Company, the Caribsea was originally named the Lake Flannery. She was an oli steam, single engine vessel with a top speed of 9.5 knots. Owned by the Panama Railroad Steamship Line, her home port was New York, NY. On the date of her sinking, she was sailing from Santiago, Cuba to Norfolk, VA with a cargo of magenese ore.

Sinking: The Caribsea was torpedoed and sunk by the U-158 on 10 March 1942. 21 crewmembers were killed in the attack.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice/Intermediate
Depth: 75-85 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-60 feet
Summer Temperature: 72-78 degrees

Dive Notes: The Caribsea is one of two sites on the east side of Cape Lookout shoals. Though wire dragged by the US Navy, parts of the ship remain partially intact with the windlass and anchors still visible. A relatively shallow site, she makes for a longer dive and is suitable for newer divers. Sand tiger sharks are typically present in large numbers, often swimming higher in the water column as well as on the wreck itself.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 446' x 58' x 27'
History: An oil tanker built in 1916 by Cramp & Sons in Philadelphia, the SS Atlas was owned by the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (now Mobil). She was sailing alone from Houston, Texas to Seawarren, New Jersey, loaded with 83,00 barrels of gasoline, and under the command of Captain Hamilton Gray when she was attacked as she rounded Cape Lookout.

Sinking: The Atlas was torpedoed and sunk by the U-552, captained by KL Erich Topp, on 9 April 1942. Thirty-two survivors were rescued by the Coast Guard and taken to Morehead City, NC where they joined the rescued crew of the tanker, Tamaulipas. Two sailors perished in the attack.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 90-130 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-60 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Atlas is located on the east side of Cape Lookout and is usually paired with a dive on the Caribsea. It's a "darker" wreck by North Carolina standards, giving it a reputation for being "creepy". Plenty of discernable structure remains including the boilers, engine, anchors, propeller, and rudder. The Atlas is also a popular hang out for sand tiger sharks.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 441'
History: The British tanker British Splendour is yet another victim of the shooting gallery of the Atlantic. A 441 foot ship heavily laden with badly needed gasoline for the war in Europe the British Splendour had an extremely heavy escort for one ship. She was escorted by the armed trawler HMS St. Zeno and had a total of eight guns and an additional seven lookouts. Alas this was to be of no help to the luckless ship.

Sinking: At around ten p.m. on the night of April 7, 1942 the ship, under the command of Captain John Hall, was cruising approximately two miles north of the Diamond Shoals buoy. The weather was clear and seas were smooth, visibility was excellent and still no one saw the U-552 when it fired the shot that sank the British Splendour.

The U-552, under the command of Oberleutnant Erich Topp, would have a very productive voyage. Sinking five vessels on this deployment. Topp was a very aggressive captain as demonstrated by his sinking of the U.S. Destroyer Reuben James six weeks before America entered the war. His torpedo struck the engine room of the British Splendour on the port side aft, killing the men inside and blowing the skylight off the roof of the engine room. Captain Hall ordered the ship abandoned and an SOS be sent, forty-one men survived the sinking of the ship. The St. Zeno then began an ultimately unsuccessful search for the u-boat and then commenced rescue operation shortly afterwards.

Two hours after the torpedo was fired all the crewmembers were rescued and the bow barely showed above water. The ship came to rest in 110 feet of water about 14 southwest of Ocracoke inlet.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 75-100 ft.
Visibility: Generally 50-75 ft.
Summer Temperature: 74-78 degrees

Dive Notes: Basically intact the ship has several large hole including a tear on the amidships starboard side and a hole in the port side engine room where the torpedo struck. The wreck of the British Splendour starts about 75 feet below water and continues to the sand at 100 feet. There are washouts around the wreck to 110 feet. The vessel lie about four hours from Beaufort and is not visited very frequently during the summer.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Submarine
Size: 298'
History: The USS Tarpon's keel was laid on December 22, 1933, her hull was launched on September 4,1935, and she was commissioned on March 12, 1936. The USS Tarpon was a modified Porpoise-Class sub. She was a Shark-Class sub and that class only had two subs. They had a range of 11,000 miles at speed of 10 knots without refueling. Her surface speed was 19 knots and her submerged speed was 8 knots. She had enough provisions to stay at sea for 75 days. The USS Tarpon was designated as P-4, and the USS Shark was designated P-3, the two members of the Shark-Class. The hulls of these two subs were all-welded, the difference in the other Porpoise-Class subs. These were the first all-welded hulls on U. S. Navy subs. This gave their 5/8 inch steel hulls a crush-depth rating of 250 feet.

Sinking: In June of 1957, the USS Tarpon was sold for scrap. As the tug Julia C. Moran was towing the USS Tarpon past Ocracoke Island, the USS Tarpon started taking on water in the stern. On August 26, 1957, the bow of the USS Tarpon rose up out of the water and she slid stern first to the bottom of the ocean.

Dive Profile

Experience Level: Advanced
Depth: 140 ft.
Visibility: Generally 40-50 feet
Summer Temperature: 72-78degrees

Dive Notes: The bow is bent back, probably the result of a snagged trawling net. The gun and conning tower have both fallen off of the sub to the ocean floor. The sub is listing 20 degrees to port.

During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Visibility averages 60 feet but can get up over a 100 feet. There can be moderate currents on the USS Tarpon, so it is best to swim into them on the first part of the dive and let the current bring you back to the anchor line. The inside of the USS Tarpon is filled with silt, which can easily reduce a diver's visibility to zero. Only penetration-trained wreck divers should attempt penetration. There is plenty to see on the outside of the USS Tarpon.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Passenger-Freighter
Size: 406'
History: The Proteus was named after one of the mystical society organizations that take part in Mardi Gras in New Orleans. In mythology, Proteus was the son of Neptune and Phoenice or Oceanus and Tethys, depending on the version you are using, either Greek or Roman. The Proteus was built in Newport News, Virginia and launched on December 16, 1899. She was considered one of the safest ships of their time. She had 46 staterooms for 78 first class passengers, 30 staterooms for 50 second class passengers, and 50 berths for third class passengers. The apartments were elegant and were equipped with electric fans and lights, and very comfortable chairs. There were enough chairs and lounges for every passenger to be seated at one time. The main dining room could hold 56 passengers at one sitting.

On January 27, 1916, the Proteus left New Orleans bound for New York with 95 passengers and crew. Captain John Nelson was in command of the ship. While heading down the Mississippi River in a dense fog, the Proteus hit the oil tanker Brabant. The Brabant had a hole above the waterline, but the Proteus was undamaged and proceeded to sea.

Captain Nelson was later replaced with Captain H. C. Boyd.

Sinking: On August 14, 1918, the Proteus left New Orleans bound for New York with 75 passengers and crew. On August 19, 1918, the Proteus was in a heavy fog 34 miles southwest of Diamond Shoals. Also in the heavy fog was the Cushing, an oil tanker. Both ships were running at reduced speed when the Cushing appeared out of the fog and hit the Proteus amidships. The Proteus had a large hole beneath her waterline and Captain Boyd gave the order to abandon ship. The ship was abandoned in less than an hour. Only one person died in the collision, which was a fireman aboard the Proteus that panicked and jumped into the water at the time of the collision and drowned. The Cushing was undamaged and picked up all of the survivors. Six hours later, the Proteus sank to the bottom.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Advanced
Depth: 120 ft.
Visibility: Generally 70-80 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Proteus is a 406 foot long passenger-freighter that is in 120 feet of water with the highest part rising to about 90 feet. The wreck lies upright with most of the stern section intact. A large brass wheel that is attached to a long shaft is on the stern deck. The rudder is still in place and 4-blade 18-foot propeller is sticking up out of the sand. Three boilers and the condenser are in the midsection of the ship.

During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Visibility averages 60 feet but can get up over a 100 feet. Large schools of amberjack can be seen swimming around the wreck. Sea bass, pompano, and tropical fish, such as the Queen Angel can also be seen regularly.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Tanker
Size: 454' x 56' x 27'
History: The Tamaulipas is commonly called the Far East Tanker, not because it comes from the Far East, but because it lies far east from shore. The Tamaulipas is a 435 foot long tanker that is in 155 feet of water.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Advanced
Depth: 155 ft.
Visibility: Generally 60-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 72-78 degrees

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Rock Pile - Spearfishing'

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate-Advenced
Depth: 102 ft.
Visibility: Generally 60-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Rock Pile is 26 miles southeast of the Beaufort Inlet at a depth of 102 feet. As the name implies, there is a pile of rocks on the ocean floor. These rocks were originally in a barge. There are some parts of the barge scattered around the rocks. The top of the rocks rises to 85 feet.

During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Visibility averages 60 feet but can get up over a 100 feet. Tropical fish, sheephead, spadefish, sea bass, hogfish, grouper, and snapper can be found swimming around the rocks. In the white sand around the rocks, flounder can be found. The cracks in the rocks provide great hiding spaces for lobster.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Deep Ocean Fishing Vessel
Size: 135' - 226 Tons

History: Built in 1954 she fished the Atlantic Ocean for ten years before she was caught in a violent storm off of Cape Lookout.

Sinking: When the Amagansett foundered in a storm on November 20, 1964 she sank in 130 feet of water about a half mile north west of the wreck of the Atlas.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate - Advanced
Depth: 130 ft.
Visibility: Generally 20-30 feet
Summer Temperature: 74-78 degrees

Dive Notes: A small intact wreck it is often bypassed in lieu of the larger more interesting wreck of the Atlas. Conditions are similar to those found on the Atlas tanker with visibility in the 50-foot range. Mild currents are occasionally encountered on this wreck that can reduce visibility. Often called the "Shad Boat" the Amagansett is an interesting wreck to visit at least once.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Trawler
Size: 140'
History: The Novelty is another member of the North Carolina Artificial Reef Program. She was sunk in 1986 three miles offshore of the Ramada Inn in Atlantic Beach. The Novelty is 140 feet long and rest in 50 feet of water. Over the years the wreck has degraded badly but still rises to within about 35 feet of the surface. Another main attraction at this site is the center section of the old Morehead - Atlantic Beach bridge. When the old bridge was demolished, it was towed out to the site of the Novelty and sunk nearby.

The roadway on the bridge is a very interesting dive and many flounder can be found on this portion of the dive. Due to its proximity to shore and shallow depths this is a very good dive to use with training students. Unfortunately, the downside is that it's proximity to shore results in degraded visibility and occasional currents.

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 55 ft.
Visibility: Generally 10-20 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Amphibious Cargo Ship
Size: 459'
History: The USS Yancey was launched on July 8, 1944 and commissioned on October 11, 1944 under the command of Commander Edward R. Rice, USNR.

Sinking: It was sunk as part of the artificial reef program in 1990. She is intact and laying on her starboard side.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Advanced
Depth: 160 ft.
Visibility: Generally 60-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 76-82 degrees

Photo courtesy of Paul Huddy

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Dredge
Size: 175'
History: Not much information is available on the Lobster Wreck. In fact, the identity of the Lobster Wreck wasn't known for certain until August of 2000, when Brian Tate of Wilmington, NC found a manufacturer's plate on a winch he salvaged from the wreck. The plate was from the Ellicott Machine Company of Baltimore, Maryland. The company is still in business and after some research, matched the contract number on the plate to the winch that was installed on the Porta Allegra, built in 1908 with a 20-inch cutter. There are no records after the sale indicating that the Porta Allegra sank or if the winch had been moved to another dredge. (Courtesy of Paul Huddy, www.nc-wreckdiving.com)

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 125 ft.
Visibility: Generally 70-100 feet
Summer Temperature: 78-82 degrees

Dive Notes: The Lobster Wreck is home to an abundance of tropical fish, as well has hog snapper, lionfish, and- you guessed it- lobster. It's a smaller wreck, and can covered in a single dive. The engine, boilers, anchor, and cutting head are prominently featured.

WATCH

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: British Armed Trawler
Size: 162'
History: The British government, after being "leased" 50 World War I-era destroyers and 10 Lake Class Coast Guard cutters, sent 24 armed trawlers and their crews to help protect merchant ships from the German U-Boats. The HMS Bedfordshire was under the command of Lieutenant R. B. Davis and had a crew of 36 men. Her patrol area was from Norfolk, Virginia to Cape Lookout. In addition to escorting tankers and freighters, the HMS Bedfordshire also performed lone patrols searching for U-Boats.

Sinking: On the night of May 12, 1942, the U-558 was patrolling offshore of Cape Lookout. Kapitanleutnant Gunter Krech, thus far unable to sink any freighters or tankers during this patrol, took aim on the Bedfordshire and fired a single torpedo, sinking her instantly. The attack had been so swift that no message had been transmitted from the HMS Bedfordshire. For two days, everyone thought she was still on patrol and was observing radio silence. On May 14, 1942, two bodies washed up on the beach of Ocracoke. The bodies were identified as Stanley Craig, telegraphist, and Sub-Lieutenant Thomas Cunningham, both from the HMS Bedfordshire. They are buried with two other crewmembers in a small cemetary on Ocracoke.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 105 ft.
Visibility: Generally 40-70 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The wreck is in three separate pieces with two of the pieces within 75 feet of each other and the third, 200 feet away. The damage from the torpedo was extensive and the highest part of the wreck is only four feet. There are a lot of I-beams, deck plates, pipes, and pieces of machinery scattered about the sand, as well as six depth charges. Large schools of amberjack and spadefish can be seen swimming around the wreck. Sea bass and grouper are typically present.

NOAA's report on the HMS Bedfordshire from their 2009 Battle of the Atlantic Expedition

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Landing craft repair ship
Size: 328' x 50' x 14'
History: The USS Indra was commissioned 2 October 1945, just after the end of World War II. In 1947, after passing through the Panama Canal, she saw service in the Far East where she supported US Marines in their efforts to stabilize the escalating crisis with China. She also served in Vietnam in 1968 as a tender and floating base for the Mobile Riverine Force. She spent her final years serving in the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Sinking: Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1989, USS Indra was transfered to the State of NC and sunk in 1992 as part of the artificial reef program.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice
Depth: 35-70 ft.
Visibility: Generally 30-50 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-78 degrees

Dive Notes: Before sinking the ship, large holes were cut into the sides to allow for access, making it easy to penetrate. The insides are open as many of the bulkheads were removed. The wreck of the Indra is home to a variety of marine life. During late summer, it is not uncommon to see tropical fish such as yellow tang or damselfish. Octopi and eels are often found hiding under and around the wreckage. The occasional stingray or shark can be seen off to the sides of the ship or swimming along the upper decks.

VESSEL INFORMATION

Type: Freighter
Size: 312' x 45' x 20'
History: The Normannia sank in a storm on 17 January 1924.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Intermediate
Depth: 90-110 ft.
Visibility: Generally 50-100 feet
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The Normannia is among the most picturesque wrecks in North Carolina. The bow and stern sections remain mostly intact and the wreck is very easy to navigate. A healthy reef, it is home to colorful tropical fish, as well as schools of jacks and baitfish. Turtles and rays are common, as are lobster.

LOCATION

Radio Island is between the high rise bridge and the draw bridge that connect Morehead City to Beaufort. The rock jetty runs parallel to the beach at the end of Radio Island near the U.S. Navy's Landing Ramp where a chain link fence separates it from the rest of the island. There is a parking lot for your vehicle, but you'll have to walk a quarter mile down the beach to reach the dive site.

DIVE PROFILE

Experience Level: Novice-Intermediate
Depth: 0-43 ft.
Visibility: 5-15 ft.
Summer Temperature: 75-80 degrees

Dive Notes: The jetty has a 45 degree slope that ends at the white sand of the channel. Going down to the bottom at the fence, the depth is 33 feet. Going back toward Beaufort, toward the green day marker, the depth gets to 43 feet. Radio Island Rock Jetty should be dove on the slack tides, preferably high slack tide. Visibility averages 6 - 10 feet, but can be in the 15 - 20 foot range on the rare occasion, but can also be in the 3 - 5 foot range. The water temperature during the summer months is in the low 80's.

Even though it is a beach dive, tropical fish are present. Butterflyfish, sergeant majors, and juvenile angelfish can be seen in the summer months. Colorful sponges can be seen growing on the rocks and game fish, such as sea bass, flounder, sheepshead, and spadefish can be found there most of the year. Since it is a shore dive, its location makes it ideal for Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Rescue, and Specialty classes. (Text adopted from Sportdiver.com)

We often run trips to Radio Island using our pontoon boat to carry gear. Check our calendar page for dates!


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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Philip of Macedon

I found this clip on YouTube. It was called "Dr. Phil Kicks Guest Off Show."

For those of you who can not watch this ridiculous clip, (And the reason could very well be on my end because I have never embedded anything from YouTube on this blog before so I hope it works.) let me give you a brief description.

Evidently, it is from a recent Dr. Phil show. The guest was the guy who produces the videos “Bum Fights” which consists of him walking around with a camera and paying homeless people to beat each other up or commit other such physical ugliness. One of the scenes actually has a homeless guy pulling his tooth out with a pair of pliers for a few dollars. To introduce his guest, Dr. Phil plays a video montage with the above mentioned scenes cross cut with the producer saying things like “We don’t exploit, we put them to work,” and other such non-sense. When the montage is over, we are back in the studio and the producer is sitting on one of the chairs. Phil turns to him and tells him to leave because he has nothing to say to him. A heated argument ensues and the producer is escorted out by security guards all to the chanting of the audience who are ecstatic that Phil stood up to this immoral jerk.

The telling line is when Phil says, “…having just seen this footage…”

Now, I have never watched the Dr. Phil show, so for all I know he has been laying down this kind of horseshit for years. I had the impression that he was one of those self-help guru type guys. The kind who gets fat people or drug addicts or habitual sex addicts on and tells them that they are fucking up, change your ways, etc. It always seemed silly to me but I understand there is a market for that sort of thing. No harm no foul. In other words, I always thought he was sincere as far as his content goes.

But this shit is a set-up, at the very least orchestrated by Phil to make himself look like a crusader for justice, or both Phil and his guest with the Bum Fight guy agreeing to be “sandbagged” because if he picks up sales worth $30.74 he considers it a net gain. The guest has no worries that his “image” or his “reputation” is being impugned. He is a man who produces a series of media called “Bum Fights,” I honestly don’t think he cares what society thinks of him.

So, if the Bum Fight guy is being dishonest is an open question, but there is absolutely no doubt that Phil is full of feces. Does he expect us to believe that he had NO IDEA what this guy did for a living? Does Phil think that we would actually believe that he was so overcome with moral outrage that he made a spontaneous decision to throw this guy off his set? Does he expect us to believe that all through the booking and preparation process that took place before the actual taping of this show, Phil didn’t pay any attention to the fact that the central guest of the episode was some guy who makes a living by paying bums to urinate on themselves? Is he suggesting that he has absolutely no idea what the hell is happening on his own show?

Come to think of it, Phil is starting to look more and more “Presidential” every day.

That this producer is a sleazebag, or at least amoral, there is no doubt. I have never saw any of these vignettes of human beings, people who polite society has written off, doing truly terrible things to other human beings…or themselves…but just the idea of displaying such human squalor for profit reeks of Randian capitalism. Looking at this guy’s material through that prism puts it all in perfect perspective…to me anyway.

But what of this Dr. Phil guy? He positions himself as a moral center that is going to lay down some truth and the world will be a much better place for his insight. This piece of footage proves that he is no better than a sensationalist hack that lucked out by having a powerful woman, Oprah, by into his jive, which led to the big house, the multiple cars and, I suspect most importantly, the external validation and recognition he so desperately needs to actually feel something…anything at all.

But here is the interesting part. As the guest was getting tossed off with a typically highbrow line used in a totally base cynical performance (“Sir, you could leave now”), in his defense said something that was actually the beginning of a discussion:

Yes, why do people watch this dreck? What the producer was suggesting, and I concur, is that the reasons why people watch the fat guy get chewed out or the dope fiend get chastised on shows like Dr. Phil are the same reasons why people view a homeless guy slam his head against a dumpster for $20…Either to see someone get humiliated or dehumanized and in the process feel better about their own lot in life.

This is not a new phenomenon. It goes all the way back to the Romans who would gather around and watch people being ripped apart by wild animals cheering the whole time giving each other the Latin equivalent of a high-five.

While the Roman example deals more with physical blood lust, the degradation of other human beings seems to have always been part of the spectrum of entertainment. From ancient Greek Tragedies to traveling religious inquisitions which would create carnival like atmospheres whenever they would roll into town with the money-shot being the incineration of a human being whose crime was probably not being in conformist step to human oddity shows where people would ridicule people inflicted with some disease that made them “different” so, therefore, to be feared to current reality shows that reward obnoxious and completely unacceptable behavior as long as it produces “conflict.”

So Dr. Phil, instead of doing that totally trumped up “I’m offended” act and that is what it was…AN ACT…could have said something to the effect of:

Although the guest’s body of work is obviously more despicable, being that people probably get physically hurt in his videos, isn’t it fair to say that Dr. Phil is at least playing in the same league?

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