Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Action Report Benham Oct 1942

ACTION REPORT

USS BENHAM DD-397

SERIAL: 175 30 OCTOBER 1942

BOMBARDMENT OF GUADALCANAL ISLAND, SOLOMON GROUP, 30 OCTOBER 1942, REPORT OF.

REPORT COVERS BOMBARDMENT OF JAPANESE POSITIONS ON NORTH EAST GUALACANAL ISLAND BY THIS VESSEL IN COMPANY WITH COMMANDER TASK GROUP 64.2 (OFFICER IN TACTICAL COMMAND) IN ATLANTA, COMMANDER DESTROYER SQUADRON 12 IN AARON WARD, LARDNER AND FLETCHER, (C.O. J.M. WORTHINGTON)



DD397/A16
Serial: (175)
October 30, 1942


FROM: The Commanding Officer.
TO: The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.


Via: (1) Commander Task Group SIXTY-FOUR POINT TWO.
(2) Commander Task Force SIXTY-FOUR
(3) Commander South Pacific Force

Subject: Action Report – Bombardment of GUADALACANAL
ISLAND, SOLOMON GROUP, October 30, 1942.

Reference: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations, Articles 712(1) and 874(6).
(b) PACFLT CONFI. LTR. 24CL-42 of June 21, 1942.

Enclosures: (A) Report of Executive Officer.
(B) Navigational Track.

On October 30, 1942 this vessel in company with Commander Task Group SIXTY-FOUR POINT TWO (Officer in Tactical Command) in ATLANTA, Commander Destroyer Squadron TWELVE in AARON WARD, LARDNER and FLETCHER; conducted shore bombardment of Japanese positions on North East GUADALANCANAL ISLAND, SOLOMON GROUP.

2. (a) Enemy forces: various Japanese units occupying North East GUADALACANAL ISLAND, composition unknown.

(b) The vessels of this task group proceeded in company to the vicinity of U.S. positions on North GUADALCANAL ISLAND, and received Marine Liaison Officers on board flagship.

(c) Wind: Force 1; Sea: Calm; Visibility: 20 Miles.

(a) 0551 – Boat bearing Liaison Officers from Marine Detachment on GUADALCANAL ISLAND went alongside ATLANTA.

0555 - Proceeding in Battle Disposition, column of ships in order from van: ATLANTA (Officer in Tactical Command), LARDNER, BENHAM, AARON WARD (commander Destroyer Squadron TWELVE) and FLETCHER to position for bombardment of Japanese prepared positions on Northeastern GUADALCANAL ISLAND.

0638 – Opened fire using Salvo Fire, Director Control, bombarding Japanese prepared positions on GUADALCANAL ISLAND, using ATLANTA’S initial bursts to designate the various target areas: Initial range: 10,000 yards.

0653 – Order received from Officer in Tactical Command by TES, “TO TWELVE’S BOYS HIT BOATS ALONG THE BEACH”.

0708 – Ceased fire having expended original ammunition allowance for bombardment: 500 rounds.

Column right to reverse course and resumed bombardment.

0745 – Received authority to expend ammunition up to 50 percent of ship’s allowance.

0750 – Column right to reverse course and resumed bombardment.

0755 – Resumed fire using same procedure as before.

0816 – Checked fire: expended 150 rounds.

0822 – Column right to reverse course and resumed bombardment.

0826 – Resumed fire using same procedure as before.

0830 – Ceased firing having expended ammunition on suitable targets: expended 46 rounds.

0835 – AARON WARD reported sighting periscope and was directed to make attack on submarine.

0845 – Order received from Officer in Tactical Command by visual, “CEASE FIRING”.

0900 – ATLANTA stopped, small boat took off Marine Liaison officers.

0906 – Underway building up to speed 37 knots retiring from GUADALCANAL area.

(b) Enemy Forces: Japanese occupying entrenched prepared positions on North East GUADALACANAL ISLAND.

(c) Own Communications: Radio, Visual and TBS.

(d) Own operations against the enemy:

(1) One ??? observation plane.
(2) Unknown number of Grumman fighters.

(e) Navigation Track (see enclosure B)

(f) Important Communications Sent and Received:

Received:
(1) 0638 – Commence firing.
(2) 0653 – To Twelve’s boys, hit boats along the beach.
(3) 0745 - Authority to expend ammunition up to 50 percent of ship’s allowance.
(4) 0845 – Cease firing.

Sent:
None

4. No comment on enemy forces.

5. (a)
1. There were no material failures or training deficiencies.
2. Fire discipline and gunnery communications were excellent.

(b) Ammunition expended:
850 rounds A.A. Common
37 rounds Star Shells

(c) The War operations of this vessel have been such, that the last opportunity to disable machinery for proper inspection and repair was in June, 1942.

The following serious defects exist:
Flange in Main Stream Line, number 2 boiler, leaks excessively.
Number 2 Main Generator vibrates so excessively that it can only be used in an emergency.
There is considerable high pressure steam leakage around the Port Main Engine High Pressure Turbine.
(d) Summary of damage: Port bulkhead, After deckhouse at frame 186, main deck (#3 handling room): rivets sheared for a distance of six (6) from deck making compartment neither watertight nor light occluding.

6.
(a) Lieutenant (jg) Roland G. Mayer Jr., U.S. Navy who has been Gunnery Officer for one week, is commended for the excellent control of gun fire during the bombardment.
(b) Lieutenant (jg) James V. Heddell, U.S. Naval Reserve who has been Engineer Officer for one month is commended for the successful operation of the engineering plant during high speed retirement, despite lack of opportunity for overhaul.
(c) Machinist Judson W. Owen, U.S. Navy is commended for untiring efforts in upkeep and repair of the engineering plant.
(d) The below named men are commended for untiring efforts in upkeep or material which made it possible to fire one-half of the ship’s allowance during shore bombardment without causality:
Rollins, Ralph R., 279 39 83, CGM(AA), USN.
Mills, Ralph L., 212 34 95, CFC(AA) USN.
Dora, John, 250 47 26, GM1c, USN.
(e) The below named men are commended for untiring efforts and their skill and proficiency in rating in keeping the engineering plant to a high degree of efficiency despite numerous stern leaks and worn out machinery:
Surko, Albert O., 206 90 48, CMM (PA), USN.
McDonnel, Lee R., 346 45 27, MM1c, USN.
Horn, Leslie E., 380 88 66, MM2c, USN.
McIntire, LaVern B., 371 90 09, WT2c, USN.

J.M. Worthington

Copy to:
CincPac
ComleaPac
Comdearon-12


U.S.S. BENHAM (397)

From: The Executive Officer
To: The Commanding Officer

Subject: After Action Report

Reference: (a) Article 948, U.S. Navy Regulations.

From about 0555 to 0900 on October 30, 1942, while in company with Task Group 64.2, in Latitude 09°-10’s, Longitude 139°-40’s, this vessel was engaged in bombarding the enemy’s positions on Guadalcanal island.
There was no enemy opposition to this bombardment.
The performance of the 5” battery in firing a total of 696 rounds of ammunition without casualty was exceptionally notable. There were no individuals deserving special commendation or censure.

F.T. Sloat




Friday, October 20, 2006
USS Benham Action Report August 24, 1942

Thanks to Brandon Orhns (Grandson of Clarence "Ace" Orhns) for sending us the following action report from the USS Benham. He also sent an action report from the USS Benham of the Bombardment of Guadalcanal October 30, 1942. We'll get that posted in a couple of days. If anyone has any action reports they would like to send to us to put on the site we would love to have them. Just send us an email. Thanks Brandon, we certainly appreciate all you have done!


USS BENHAM DD397

ACTION REPORT – BATTLE OF SOLOMONS (STEWART ISLAND)
AUGUST 24, 1942

SERIAL 148
AUGUST 25, 1942



42674



U.S. PACIFIC FLEET
U.S.S. BENHAM (397)
DD397/A16
Serial (148)

August 25, 1942

From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Via: (1) Commander Task Force SIXTEEN.
(2) Commander Task Force SIXTY ONE.
(3) Commander South Pacific Force.

Subject: Action Report – Battle of Solomons (Stewart Island) August 24, 1942.

References: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations, Articles 712(1) and 874(6).

Enclosures: (a) Report of Executive Officer.
(b) Diagram of Movements of Ship


1. Narrative

August 24, 1942.

1325 - screening starboard bow of PORTLAND in Cruising Disposition 1. Officer in Tactical command, Commander Task Force SIXTEEN in ENTERPRISE, course 000° (T), speed 15 knots.

Enemy planes reported approaching this Task Force.

1327 – Enemy plane shot down bearing 210° (T), distant 8 miles.

1419 – Changed speed to 25 knots.

1427 – Our fighter planes engaging enemy planes, bearing 280° (T).

1428 – Signal from officer in Tactical Command, “Follow movements of this ship”.

1501 – Enemy force consisting of 1 carrier, 2 cruisers and 1 destroyer, reported beaqring 330° (T), distant 300 miles.

1605 – Sighted friendly patrol plane bearing 270° (T), which reported 1 enemy carrier sighted bearing 210° (T), distant 180 miles from this force.

1640 – Changed course to 320° (T) and speed to 27 knots.

1647 – Signal from Officer in Tactical Command, “Follow movements of this ship”.

1655 – many enemy planes reported bearing 300° (T), distant 40 miles, altitude 12,000 feet.

1700 – ENTERPRISE launched aircraft, course 135° (T).

Wind force 2, direction South East.

Sea Smooth

STEWART ISLAND bearing 300° (T), distant 55 miles.

Ships position: Latitude 09° - 00’ Longitude 163 – 32’.

1704 – Enemy planes attempting simultaneous dive bombing and torpedo attack.

1705 – Enemy plane bearing 318° (T), distant 27 miles.

1711 – Enemy torpedo planes bearing 320° (T), distant 10 miles.

1712 – Approximately twenty (20) enemy dive bombers commenced diving attack on ENTERPRISE, ENTERPRISE commenced maneuvering radically.

BENHAM used varying rudder up to full, varying speed up to full power, maintaining station bearing 000 Enemy plane bearing 318° (T), distant 27 miles.
(T), distant 2000 yards from ENTERPRISE.

BENHAM opened fire with 5” anti-aircraft “barrage”; initial range 5,000 yards (altitude 12,750 feet), and 20 m.m. fire.

1714 – ENTERPRISE observed to be hit by bombs.

1720 – Ceased firing.

Of the approximate twenty (20) planes making the attack, which came within range of anti-aircraft batteries, nearly all were shot down in the vicinity of the ENTERPRISE. Several of these planes were fired upon by this ship and adjacent ships in formation. About four (4) were seen to attempt to escape and were pursued by our fighters. The ENTER{RISE appeared to be the sole target of the attack except for four (4) dive bombers, who, attempted to bomb the NORTH CAROLINA, and were promptly shot down.

There were no casualties to either personnel or equipment of this vessel.

Ammunition expended:

5”/38 - 109 rounds
20 m.m. - 510 rounds

2. In the opinion of the commanding officer the performance of duty of all officers and men during the brief action with enemy planes was uniformly excellent. It is therefore difficult to single out individuals for especial honors.

The following performances are especially praiseworthy:

(a) Lieutenant R.B. Crowell, U.S. Navy, Gunnery Officer, controlled the fire of the 5 inch battery in an extremely able manner.
(b) Lieutenant A.P. Colvin, U.S. Navy, Engineer Officer, after six weeks of strenuous cruising, operated his engineering plant at full power when required, enabling the ship to maneuver readily to conform to the movements of guide, overcoming both feed pump and overheating generator difficulties.

3. Comment on material:

(a) There were no material failures.

(b) The main feed pumps are in such a condition, that their reliability is uncertain. Early installation of new main feed pumps, already ordered by Bureau of Ships, is necessary for battle efficiency.

(c) The main generators overheat excessively in tropical waters, when the load of battle requirements is placed on them. An improved cooling system is urgently required.

(d) The open-sight for director pointer is inefficient. An improved design is needed to aid in getting director and guns on rapidly moving air targets.

(e) The temporary installation of number two 20 m.m. gun on the midship deck house, frame 99, enabled that gun to fire effectively, twice as many rounds as guns 1, 3 & 4.

4. During the greater part of the first eight months of war operations this ship has been one of a carrier screen. This ship has only four (4) 5 inch and four (4) 20 m.m. guns. In both the MIDWAY and SOLOMON (STEWART) battles the need for additional anti-aircraft guns was readily apparent. It is again recommended that additional 20 m.m. guns, or, 40 m.m. guns, be installed; and if necessary for weight compensation, eight (8) of the sixteen (16) torpedo tubes now carried, be removed.


J.M. Worthington.

Copies to: CinC US Flt.
ComTaskGroup 61.1.
ComDesPac.
ComDesRon 6.

U.S.S. BENHAM (397)

DD397/A16
August 25, 1942




Confidential:

From: The Executive Officer
To: The Commanding Officer

Subject: After Action Report.

References: (a) Article 948, U.S. Navy Regulations.

At about 1712 to 1720 (11.5 2T) on August 24, 1942 while in company with task Force SIXTEEN, in Latitude 09°-00’ South, Longitude 163°-32’ East, this vessel was engaged with a force of enemy planes attacking the Task Force. This attack is believed to have been a well coordinated attack of high altitude bombers, torpedo planes, and dive bombers, of which the dive bombers alone succeeded in penetrating our fighter defense. The resulting dive bomber attack was centered on the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE; the U.S.S. NORTH CAROLINA was also attacked.

The attack initiated from a direction ahead of this vessel with the enemy planes diving across from port to starboard. The 5”/38 caliber and 20 m.m. machine gun batteries promptly opened fire; expended 109 rounds of 5”/38 caliber and 510 rounds of 20 m.m. ammunition. The result of this firing was indeterminate.

The conduct of all personnel coming under my observation was laudable to the highest degree. There were no individuals deserving special commendation or censure.

F.T. Sloat


ENSLOSURE “A” to CO BENHAM ltr
DD397/A16 (148) of 8/25/42




Thursday, October 12, 2006
William F. Hegwood



In researching my Dads Naval history I have come across so many interesting bends in the road and so many interesting people. And one of the most interesting things Terri and I come across are Dad’s shipmates. Recently I happened to find information on one of Dad’s shipmates, William F. Hegwood, from the USS Bell DD587 online at his grandson’s (Steve Brammer) website.

Below is the information they have on William Hegwood on the Brammer family website:

Petty Officer Hegwood was born on December 20, 1909 in Madrid, Nebraska . He enlisted in the United States Navy in February of 1944 and received his basic training (Boot Camp) at the United States Naval Training Center (USNTC), Farragut, Idaho. Petty Officer Hegwood saw combat action during World War II aboard the Fletcher Class Destroyer USS Bell (DD587) when it was attached to Task Force 58 for the Kavieng, New Ireland, strikes. Petty Officer Hegwood also participated in combat during the Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, invasion; Truk strike; Marianas raid; Carolines strike; Hollandia landings; Saipan invasion; 4 Bonins raids; Battle of the Philippine Sea; Guam invasion; western Carolines raids; Palau raids; Okinawa raid; and with Task Force 38 in the Formosa raids. The USS Bell formed part of the escort of the crippled USS Houston (CL-81) and USS Canberra (CN-70) from Formosa to Ulithi. She then rejoined the 3rd Fleet for strikes against Luzon and the invasion of Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. During the late evening of January 31, 1945, while at 13 degrees 20 North, 119 degrees 20 East, the USS Bell joined the O'Bannon (DD-450) and the Ulvert M. Moore (DE-442) in sinking the Japanese submarine RO-115. Petty Officer Hegwood, was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the Philippine Liberation Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. Petty Officer Hegwood was honorably discharged from the Naval Service in May of 1945.

I filled out their online form and received an interesting reply from the son of William Hegwood (Larry Hegwood).

Email from Larry Hegwood:
Dad never talked much about his navy time. He was 38 years old when he "volunteered" trying to get a 4f rating . He and uncle Roy Evans wanted to go to Alaska and work on the highway and make the big bucks. They both became navy members. Dad didn't stay in long, he got stomach ulcers and was discharged just before the end of the war. We were in Alliance Nebraska when WWII ended. I do know the Bell went over the equator while he was onboard. He ragged me until he died about not being a shell back. "Belonged to the destroyer nave and joined the Airforce and after 20 years you still are a pollywog.




Monday, October 09, 2006
Indiana Memorials



We are fortunate enough to live in a city that has many War Memorials. Indianapolis has memorials to all wars, to veterans, to the USS Indianapolis, the Medal of Honor recipients and may more. Today Terri and I took the afternoon off and toured a few of the many memorials Indianapolis has to offer. Our first stop of the day was the Indiana World War Memorial. Unfortunately it was closed to the public today as it was Columbus Day. We did get to see a rather spiffy protest by a handful of Veterans on the steps of the War Memorial.



Our next stop of the day was the USS Indianapolis Memorial. If you don’t know the story of the USS Indianapolis I suggest you google it or go to your local bookstore and read about it. The US Indianapolis was the last war ship to be sunk in WWII. It was a huge loss of life and a great tragedy. The USS Indianapolis also goes down in history as being the ship that delivered the atomic bomb to an island in the Pacific for the Enola Gay.



An interesting side note about the USS Indianapolis Memorial is that a piece of the USS Arizona is embedded in the center of the Memorial. It is a very touching memorial.



Our final memorial of the afternoon was the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial. This memorial honors all of the Medal of Honor recipients from all wars and peace time. While you walk amid the glass panels you hear the faint sound of music and occasionally a narration of some of the Medal of Honor recipients stories.



Recently Terri and I both finished reading a fascinating book called The last Stand of the Tin can Sailors by James Hornfischer. This book is about the Battle of Leyte Gulf and goes into great detail about the sinking of the USS Samuel B. Roberts and the USS Johnston. Commander Ernest Evans of the USS Johnston was a remarkable man and is a Medal of Honor recipient. The last anyone ever saw of him was by Captain Copeland of the USS Sammy B. As their sinking ships slowly passed each other in the water Commander Evans raised a bloody hand and saluted Captain Copeland who saluted him in return. The world lost many good men that day in the battle of Leyte Gulf and Commander Evans was one of them. So it was a special moment to Terri and I to see Commander Evans name engraved in the glass of the memorial.




Saturday, October 07, 2006
Deck Logs and Muster Rolls

In looking for deck logs and muster rolls online for the three ships my father served on in WWII, I found references to the USS Benham (the 1st ship Dad served on) in deck logs of other ships. Below is one such case. This is from the USS SLC. The compete deck log can be found at http://ussslcca25.com/decklg10.htm

April 13th, 1942
[0-4 Hours]
Steaming in condition of Readiness II in company with TASK FORCE 16

[8-12 Hours]
Steaming as before

0832: Commenced maneuvering to conform to movements of USS ENTERPRISE launching and recovering airplanes, and to take assigned station in cruising disposition, 7-V.

0952: On station, in column, 1000 yards astern of USS NASHVILLE, on fleet course, at fleet speed 15 knots. USS NASHVILLE on station, in cruising disposition 7-V. USS HORNET fleet guide, at fleet center.

USS BENHAM came up on the starboard quarter and delivered official mail.

[12-16 Hours]
Steaming as before.

A couple of the deck logs for the USS Bell DD587 can be found on the USS Bell Association website at http://www.ussbelldd587.org/ and look in the News section.

In addition we were blessed to have received copies of muster rolls from the USS Benham DD397 from Brandon Orhns (the grandson of Clarence “Ace” Orhns) along with two action reports, "Battle of the Solomons Stewart Island August 24, 1942" and "Bombardment of Guadalcanal Island Solomon Group Oct 30, 1942". They have made for fascinating reading I assure you! Thanks for sharing Brandon, we certainly appreciate it!




Thursday, October 05, 2006
Jack Forester



One of the men we met at the USS Bell reunion was Jack Forester. He was attending from Michigan and had his daughter Glennora with him. They were both delightful people to be around and we enjoyed spending time with them.

We sat at the same table as Jack and Glennora at the banquet and Terri drilled Jack for information about his WWII days.

Jack went into the Navy in 1940 before all of the stuff with Pearl Harbor. There was a great rush to join the Navy after Pearl Harbor. But Jack didn’t wait around for us to be bombed before deciding that he wanted to join the Navy and see the world.

Jack Forester would eventually become a Torpedoman but he started out his Naval career by swabbing decks as a Seabee. He asked the Lieutenant how you got a job like Torpedoman and the next thing you know a week later Jack gets Torpedoman school. He didn’t get the full Torpedoman position but he did get assigned on a ship where he was teaching others.

There was an officer onboard this ship who thought he knew everything. He was one nasty piece of work. He and Jack clashed heads from the start. He and Jack taught a similar class so he asked Jack to sit in on his class sometime and tell him what he thought of his teaching. So Jack sat in one of his classes. Instead of teaching, this guy spent the whole class talking about girls in Honolulu and how he would take care of them while their men were at sea. After the class he asked Jack what he thought of the class. Jack replied “You want me to tell you what I really thought or do you want me to bullshit you?” The next thing you know Jack has orders off of the ship to head south. Heading south was not a good thing in those days apparently. That officer thought he was sending Jack off to swab decks somewhere. Jack hits port and is resting on the dock when suddenly someone kicks his duffle bag. Jack swings around ready to do battle but he see’s that it is the Lieutenant that first gave him Torpedoman school. The Lieutenant asks Jack what brings him to this port and jack tells him about the clash with the officer. The Lieutenant asks him if the guy looks like blah blah blah and Jack describes him. Turns out the Lieutenant knew the guy and didn’t think favorably of him either. The lieutenant says “Well Jack, what is it you want to do?” Next thing you know Jack is heading off to San Diego back into torpedo school so he can get a higher class.

While in San Diego Jack met his first wife there. Her father was strict and ended up throwing her out of the house when he found out that she was spending time with a sailor. So they drove over to Arizona and got married. Their marriage wasn’t a long one and has a tragic ending. While Jack was off in Honolulu she got hit by a car and died 5 days before Pearl Harbor was attacked. She was only 17 when she died. Tears welled up in Jacks eyes as he told us about her death. You could tell that even after all these years the thought of her passing at such a young age and in such a tragic way still moved him.

Jack went on to tell us how after that he went aboard a 4 piper that was a stacker. They turned it into a mine sweeper. He wanted PT boats. At this point we were interrupted and never did get back to hearing the rest of Jack’s story. One day soon we would like to update the rest of the story of Jack Forester.




Sunday, September 17, 2006
Sailor Home From Major Battles



When my wife, mother and I were visiting Charlotte Penrod, the widow of my fathers shipmate and good friend John Penrod, we happened to find the following article in her family album. This article appeared in the local Selma Indiana paper on December 23, 1942 when John was home on leave after the USS Benham DD397 was sunk. It is interesting to see that they were not allowed to name the ship.

December 23, 1942

Selma Sailor Home From Five Major Battles in Pacific


A sunburned Delaware County Sailor who took part in every great Naval Battle of the Pacific, was home today for the first time in 2 years.

John Penrod, Machinist Mate 2/c, only 3 years ago was a pupil in Selma High School. Since then, however, he has probably seen more varied battle service than any other Delaware County Veteran of the WWII 2’s first year.

The square jawed youngster, his hair bleached straw yellow by the Southern Pacific sun, was in the battle of the Coral Sea, the first great US Naval victory of WWII, at Midway, the battle which saved Hawaii, at the marine landing on Guadalcanal, which opened the battle of the Solomons, in the battle of the Stewart Islands, and in the last great engagement off the Solomons in which 28 Jap warships were sunk, including a battleship and 6 heavy cruisers.

Now he is visiting his father, Hudson Penrod, of near Selma. The sailor has a 30 day leave.

Young Penrod, who attended the Royerton and Selma schools, joined the Navy in his Jr. year. He enlisted as an apprentice Seaman October 3, 1939. After “boot” training at Newport RI he was stationed aboard the USS Texas, a battleship for 5 months, then he was transferred to a Destroyer.

He served on the Destroyer throughout the Pacific battles, until it was sunk last November in the action off the Solomons. As the Navy department has made only the brief announcement of it’s sinking, the name can not be revealed. (Note: The ship this article was referring to was the USS Benham DD397)

Much more of Penrod’s story of course, will have to remain untold until after the war. A few details, however, can be given. When the torpedo struck the ship, a great gush of water poured down the hatch below decks where Penrod was stationed. The youngster tells about wondering whether he had the strength to fight through that water to the upper levels of the ship, and to safety. But he got through, and was in the water some four hours before he was rescued. The air attacks in the Coral Sea and at Midway were terrific, he tells, but that last battle, when great war ships slugged it out in pitch darkness, beat them all. A night naval engagement, he recounts, looks not unlike the fireworks displays that used to be held at McCulloch Park, and when the rockets flare the shrapnel looks like deadly silver rain.

Penrod, glad to be home, nevertheless, ran across reminders of home in strange places.

A stock question when sailors meet is “Where you from?” And it is usual to give the name of the nearest big city in reply. For a man from California hardly would know the whereabouts of Royerton, or Springport or Gaston. Penrod, meeting a sailor in a foreign port, was asked the usual question. “Indianapolis” he replied. Why I’m from Muncie the other said. “Why I’m really from Selma” answered Penrod. “I’m from Parker” the other countered.

And if you think home means little to the man in service, think of this youngsters experience when he first stepped foot in the states after two years at sea – and the Selma youth was at sea almost continually. There the radio is seldom turned on, for it might give the enemy one’s position. Thus the last popular song he sang was one popular in 1940. So when he came ashore he heard, for the first time, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”. He thought of snow and Christmas and home. And the sailor who had fought through the fiercest sea battles of this or any other war felt like crying.




Dad's Navy Days

This chronicles my search for my fathers (Cissel Cannon Grimes) Naval history in WWII and serves as a tribute to him and all the other men and women that saved the world and our freedom during World War II.

My Photo
Name:
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States


Powered by Blogger

The WeatherPixie

Who Links Here