USS Newark II - History

USS Newark II - History

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Newark II
(SP-266: dp. 231; 1. 107'; b. 26'; dr. 11'6"; s. 14 k.; a. 1 1-pdr.)

The second Newark, a tug built by Skinner Shipbuilding Co.,Baltimore, Md. in 1913, was acquired by the Navy from Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Co. 18 August 1917 and commissioned 23 September 1917, Ens. John W. Barr in command.

Operating in the 3rd Naval District, New York during World War I, Newark got under way 26 September as a mine sweeper in and around New York, berthing at Marine Basin. She steamed on patrol to Whitestone, L.I. 4 January 1918. In February she operated in a tug capacity, breaking ice in Marine Basin, helping 6 SC boats out of the harbor, and towing ships from docks to coal barges. In May she resumed mine sweeping activities, operating in Ambrose Channel.

On 22 January 1919, Newark steamed up to Fort LaFayette, towing barges and ships such as Lowell to the Lackawanna coal docks. After the war, Newark decommissioned 15 May 1919 and was sold 19 May 1919.

The Cleveland class light cruiser Newark (CL-100) was reclassified CV-30 on 2 June 1942 and was renamed Reprisal 23 June 1942. While under conversion to an aircraft carrier, she was renamed San Jacinto (q.v.) 6 January 1943.

The Fargo class light cruiser Newark (CL-108) was laid down 17 January 1944. Her construction was cancelled 12 August 1945, when 67.8°,lo completed. However, the hulk was launched in December 1945 for use in underwater explosion tests. In March 1948, she was towed from Norfolk Navy Yard to the test area near the mouth of the Patuxent River in Chesapeake Bay and participated in tests until July 1948. Returning to the Norfolk Navy Yard, the hulk was surveyed in October 1948, for possibility of completion, but was pronounced "unfit for naval service" and sold to American Shipbreakers Inc., Philadelphia, Pa. for scrapping 2 April 1949.

Welcome aboard USS LST 393

Walk where heroes walked, right in downtown Muskegon! History jumps out at you from every deck and every corner. Discover LST 393's outstanding wartime record as you tour a nationally renowned veterans museum with artifacts and displays honoring those who served America and fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.


D-Day Commemoration, Swing Dance scheduled for June 4-5

Planners are hard at work getting ready to commemorate the 77th anniversary of D-Day, the massive invasion of Europe during World War II in which USS LST 393 took part. Health restrictions have reduced the scope of activities, but Rolling Thunder Michigan Chapter 4 in conjunction with the LST 393 Veterans Museum is working to mark the important anniversary. On the weekend of June 4-5 (the invasion was June 6, 1944), plans are for a swing dance on Friday evening, military reenactors and vehicles of the era, $5 ship tours, food vendors and on Saturday the popular "Air Raid Muskegon."

They're back! Movies on Deck returns June 25

Lights! Camera! Action! Movies on Deck returns to USS LST 393 this summer for a limited engagement. After a pandemic pause, the popular film series will resume Friday, June 25, with the World War II blockbuster “Dunkirk.” The action adventure “Jumanji” will be screened Friday, July 16, and the all-time classic “Toy Story” will delight all ages Aug. 6. The movies will start at dark (usually about 10 p.m.) and audience members are asked to observe safety spacing rules.

History of Newark

Little is known of Newark's initial settlements. It appears our community's early growth, like most villages of Colonial America, owed much to natural features and location. In Newark's case, historians tell us that in the early 1700s a small English, Scots-Irish and Welsh hamlet grew along two old Native America trails and the fall line where the Christina and White Clay Creeks turn sharply eastward toward the Delaware River. In time, the area began to serve travelers on route from the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia and Maryland and colonial Philadelphia. In addition, the streams flowed with sufficient velocity to power the grist and sawmills that soon dotted their banks. Rich soil meant wheat, corn and vegetables were plentiful, and the available ore from nearby Iron Hill fed the forges of a small country iron works. Soon a tannery and brickyard were added to the village. By 1758, the bustling local market and country crossroads received recognition in the form of a Charter from King George II, and Newark was officially born.

Early Education

While the village's history soon followed the typical late 18th and early 19th century Middle Atlantic region development pattern of agriculturally based trade, coupled with steam and water powered industry, Newark departed from tradition as its primary impetus for future growth came from the evolution of a local private academy into the city's largest landowner - the University of Delaware.

In 1765, a small preparatory and grammar school had moved from New London, Pennsylvania, to Newark. The school, remained the Newark Academy, flourished during the years prior to the American Revolution - Newark was described at the time as "suitable and healthy village, not too rich or luxurious, where real learning might be obtained." During the war, however, the academy was closed and its funds seized by the British.

Following the Revolution, the reborn academy and the town grew slowly. In 1833, the State of Delaware - recognizing the need for local higher education - granted a charter to a new institution in the town, Newark College, later renamed Delaware College. The next year, the college merged with the academy and shortly thereafter the grammar and preparatory portion of the school was closed. The college itself shut its doors in 1858 as a result of a student fracas and the coming of the Civil War. When Delaware College reopened in 1870 it had become a land grant institution assisted with federal funds. In 1914, the Women's College, physically adjacent and linked administratively to the male school, began operations. The two institutions were not formally combined until 1944. Prior to that, in 1921, the male college received a revised state charter and a new name - the University of Delaware.

Early Industry

In the meantime, the village of Newark had become a small city around the college and local crossroads market. In 1837, the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore railroad - later the Pennsylvania Railroad and today's Northeast Corridor CONRAIL / AMTRAK line - linked Newark to points north and west. Industrial concerns like the Curtis Paper Company, reestablished in 1848 from the older Meteer Paper Company, Continental Fiber (1896) and National Vulcanized Fibre (1924) helped diversify the local economy. In 1855, the town's first bank was established. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad -- the predecessor of the modern CSX rail system -- came in 1886 and provided additional passenger and freight rail service to Philadelphia and points west and south. The town's population grew rapidly through the 1920's and a substantial retail market developed in conjunction with University and industrial expansion. While the Great Depression slowed economic growth, the pace of industrial and commercial development increased dramatically during World War II and the subsequent Korean conflict. For example, several DuPont facilities opened in the 1940's and, in 1951, the Chrysler Corporation constructed its Newark Assembly Plant.

Coinciding with the arrival of Chrysler, the State of Delaware granted the city a new Charter that doubled the city’s size. Before the City Charter change, Newark had encompassed an area roughly bounded by the White Clay Creek and what is now the University's north campus on the north the Newark Country Club and the approximate location of Old Barksdale and Beverly Roads on the west, the Pennsylvania Railroad on the south, and the present site of Library Avenue on the east. The new 1951 Charter resulted in the basic outline of the Newark we know today our northern boundaries were expanded to include Fairfield and Fairfield Crest, the Paper Mill Apartments, and Kirkwood Highway to the Windy Hills Bridge. Brookside became Newark's eastern boundary, Chestnut Hill Road the southern, and the Christina Creek marked Newark's western limits. In 1965, the State of Delaware granted the present Charter to Newark, significantly strengthening the Council-Manager form of government.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Newark's development pattern closely followed the post war national economic boom. For Newark this meant that population increased from just over 11,000 in 1960 to almost 21,000 in 1970 - by far the fastest growing decade in the City’s history. New residential tracts provided excellent housing for Newarkers and expanded the City's boundaries to include subdivisions like Arbour Park, Westfield, Williamsburg Village, Elan, and Paper Mill Farms. In addition, during the same time period, the Diamond State Industrial Park was annexed providing the present home for DuPont, New London Textile, Rohm and Haas and other nationally known firms.

Continued Growth

In the 1970s and early 1980s as the national and regional economy suffered from oil price shocks, Newark's growth also stabilized. In the latter part of the 1980s, however, the city's pace of development quickened with the completion of the Stafford and Barksdale Estates communities, the approval of the Sandy Brae Industrial Park and the residential developments of Abbotsford, Country Place, Christianstead and West Branch, among others.

In the 1990s, the city approved new subdivisions intended to meet varying housing needs ranging from large student private “dormitories” at Continental Court and University Courtyard, to housing directed for seniors at Southridge, Paper Mill Falls, Briarcreek and Whitechapel Village. More traditional single family style projects were constructed at the Hunt and Woods at Louviers at the north end of the city and at Yorkshire Woods II along the city’s southern boundary. A large redevelopment project, the Mill at White Clay, exemplified the city’s commitment to preserving the best from the past, while, at the same time, exploiting the latest trends in land use planning - in this case, the creative utilization of mixed uses.

Preservation of Downtown

By the late 1990s and through the early years of the new millennium, Newark renewed its commitment to preserving its downtown core through the establishment, in 1998, of the tripartite - city, university, business community - Downtown Newark Partnership. As part of that change, the City Planning Department assumed the responsibility for management of the old Newark Parking Authority’s downtown off-street parking facilities. The city’s downtown and historic building incentive programs led to renewed landowner and developer commitments downtown exemplified by the construction of Main Street Court, Center Square, Main Street Plaza and Pomeroy Station. These projects all included first floor commercial space with upper floor apartments, intended to help meet the need for housing downtown, while at the same time, increasing the available mix of quality retail square footage. Other newcomers downtown - Panera Bread, for example - took advantage of city incentive programs designed to encourage quality redevelopment of existing vacant facilities. At the same time, the city and the Partnership sponsored new and extremely popular Main Street festivals and installed attractively designed murals and other displays of public art, all intended to foster and strengthen the economic vitality of downtown Newark.

In sum, while the little hamlet between the creeks has become a bustling small city, Newark has retained its college town charm and industrial and commercial diversity. The constant in our history has been change - change tempered by the reality of Newark's geography, natural environment, population, and economy - and change guided to produce the city we all enjoy today.

Special Thanks to Rev. Andrew Ostaszewski for all his help.

Juri, Carmen. "Newark church celebrates 100th anniversary today." Star-Ledger, September 14th, 2008.

Kedra, Christina (ed). "100th Anniversary Journal of St. Casimir's Roman Catholic Church."

Peterson, Iver. "IRONBOUND JOURNAL New Portuguese Flavor Irks Church's Old Guard. "New York Times, January 27th, 1992.

Roberts, Reginald. "Hustle and bustle on Pulaski St . - St . Casimir school and church are hubs for Polish community." Star-Ledger, September 4th, 1997.

High Street/MLK Boulevard: Part II

As readers know from the title of this feature, MLK Boulevard used to be called High Street. According to Charles Cummings, "High Street" was a common name in English towns, even among towns build on flat land.

High Street was renamed for Martin Luther King in 1982/1983. The lateness of the name change surprises me, since Newark had a black mayor by the early 1970s. By contrast, Richard J. Daley of Chicago, not known for racial sensitivity, renamed a major street for King immediately after King's assassination. The Essex County Hall of Records was designed by Grant Behee and finished in 1926.

Essex County College, the first of three institutions of higher education that we will come across, reminds you of its history with this sign reading "Essex County College 1966."

Actually, this campus of Essex County College does not date from 1966. Originally, ECC was located downtown. This outer-downtown ("University Heights") campus was finished in the 1970s. Next up from ECC is Rutgers-Newark. Rutgers-Newark was formed in 1946 when the legislature made the University of Newark a state-supported part of the Rutgers system. The University of Newark was itself the union of Dana College, the Newark Institute of Arts and Sciences, the Seth Boyden School of Business, the Mercer Beasley School of Law, and the New Jersey Law School.

Rutgers-Newark was built in the late 1950s/early 1960s on urban renewal land. To make this pleasant campus, 35 acres of tenements, shops, and warehouses had to be torn down. Grad & Grad architects did submit a plan for a high-rise university that would not have required so much demolition, but that plan was rejected in favor of lawns and quads.

This building is Robeson Hall, named after Paul Robeson, from of Rutgers' (New Brunswick) most famous alumni. Paul Robeson was a minister's son from Princeton. He had wanted to attend Princeton University, but Princeton didn't accept blacks.

At Rutgers Robeson was a stand-out athlete, actor, and student, delivering his class graduation's valedictory address. After Rutgers Robseson became an actor/activist. He gravitated towards the Civil Rights movement's communist wing. When Robeson visited the Soviet Union under Stalin he ignored the USSR's own hideous human rights record. This Elizabethan gothic building is Eberhardt Hall, NJIT's administration building.

Eberhardt Hall was built as an orphanage in 1857. Its $31,000 cost was paid by public subscription. The architect was John Welch, the same person who designed the High Street Presbyterian Church and the South Park Presbyterian Church. This was a very modern building for the Nineteenth century, with gaslight and hot and cold running water.

Rutgers-Newark and NJIT have adjacent campuses separated by MLK Jr. Boulevard. Most Rutgers-Newark buildings have their back doors to MLK Boulevard, but NJIT buildings give MLK Boulevard their best face. Most of the frats on the street are affiliated with NJIT.

This used to be a handsome residential street. I have nothing against frats, but I wonder if these buildings would better serve Newark as private houses. Newark needs middle class housing stock. All of these townhomes have spacious backyards. Fortunately, not every stately building on MLK Boulevard is a frat, here the old Cryer mansion, at MLK and James, has been converted into attractive, modern apartments. One last NJIT frat. This firehouse was formerly the home of Engine Co. No. 4 and Ladder Co. No. 2. It now houses a chapter of Theta Chi. The Newark Subway is undergoing its second expansion in less than a decade as a new subway line is constructed between Penn and Broad St. Stations. Hopefully, this new subway line will be an asset for the Broad Street Station area and we'll see redevelopment of the unsightly Westinghouse Warehouse. The Colonnade and Pavillion Apartments were built on one the the highest points in Newark. The architect was the internationally famous L. Mies van der Rohe and the developers were Herbert S. Greenwald and Samuel Katzin.

Built as part of the "New Newark Movement, the Colonnade apartments, with New York City as their "fourth wall," were heralded as something that would anchor the middle class to the decaying 1950s city.

In its July 30, 1961 issue, the New York Times reported that the Colonnade community

Eighth Avenue, the street that used to run through this area, was not the first choice of the urban renewal planners in the Newark Housing Authority. Unfortunately for the First Ward, the federal government would not pay for urban renewal in the worst parts of Newark, so a lower middle class section like this had to be found.

It seems that the First Ward Italians opposed the obliteration of their neighborhood, but their power structure did not listen to them. Newark's two most powerful Italian politicians, Congressmen Peter Rodino and Mayor Ralph Villani, wanted urban renewal. Even the priest of St. Lucy's Church was dazzled by the modern architecture.

World War II

Stories with interview subjects from our World War II collection. Browse all stories to see subjects across all Voces collections.

Charley Gonzales Kidder

“Two years, 11 months and 21 days,” World War II veteran Charley Gonzales Kidder said with a smile. “That’s exactly how long I served.”

At 18 years of age, Gonzales Kidder was proud and honored that his country gave.

Ernestine Mojica Kidder

Ernestine Mojica Kidder vividly recalls one of her earliest memories as a young child in Taylor, Texas. Her father lifted her into his arms and pointed to a schoolhouse in the distance. “That’s where you’re going to school.

John Soltero

His hand mimicked the path of a B-17, recalling the spry 22-year-old that John Soltero had been all those years ago when he was dropping bombs onto Berlin. A confident smile was radiant beneath his shaded glasses and “.

Carmen B. Salaiz Esqueda Abalos

Back when Rosie the Riveter was proclaiming to women all across the U.S., “We Can Do It!” Carmen (Salaiz) Esqueda Abalos proved it.

Her husband, Mike, having enlisted in the Navy, Abalos joined the war effort by.

Apolonia Muñoz Abarca

As news of the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor came over the radio on Dec. 7, 1941, a 20-year-old Polly Muñoz Abarca started dreaming of places worlds away from her dorm room in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Salomon Trevino Abrego

Salomon Abrego was at the Battle of the Bulge, where he and his fellow soldiers suffered through one of the coldest winters to hit the area in more than 20 years.

As a medic, Abrego watched helplessly as the cold.

Hector Acedo

Hector Acedo was 19 and World War II had been in full swing for three years when an older friend who’d already been drafted said: "Let's join the Navy."

Acedo’s response: "Sure, well let's go."

Anthony Acevedo

It was 50 degrees below zero, one of the coldest winters Germany had seen in 50 years. A blanket of snow several feet high covered the ground.

Wearing only combat uniforms designed for warfare in the tropics, a group of.

Rudy Acosta

Growing up in Southern California, Rudy Acosta was like countless of other young boys. He escaped each week to the movies and watched the likes of Errol Flynn and John Wayne triumph over the bad guys.

Jessie Acuña

A trip across the Atlantic on the luxury ship the Queen Mary would seem like a dream come true for anyone, especially a teenager from a small West Texas town. But for Jessie Acuña, it was a trip into the unknown. The trek.

Jose Eriberto Adame

Jose "Joe" Eriberto Adame saw combat in one of the most defining events of World War II -- the Battle of Normandy. But one of his most vivid memories is at the genesis of America's involvement in the conflict -- the day the.

Frank Aguerrebere

By Kimberly Tran, California State University, Fullerton

Although he never talked much about his wartime experiences, Frank Aguerrebere parachuted into the Normandy Invasion and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, two of the bloodiest and.

Valentin Aguilar

Valentín Aguilar says he feels proud that he served during World War II.

Born in Laredo, Texas, Aguilar only received a second grade education. He made a living picking vegetables on a community farm. Aguilar's eyes.

Nicanor Aguilar

Nicanor Aguilar is something of a renaissance man, both as a musician and, at an age when most people would be slowing down, an athlete.

But Aguilar’s proudest accomplishment involves his efforts to end.

Salvador V. Aguilar

Salvador Aguilar remembers lonesome nights aboard the cargo ship he served on during World War II. On many nights, he and fellow sailors and troops were forced to lie in the dark, ordered not make any sounds. It was.

Tony Aguilera

Even though Tony Aguilera's childhood in an East Los Angeles barrio was once marked by poverty, he remembers it fondly.

"We were a very happy family," he said of his Mexico-born parents and 13 siblings. "We played.

Josephine Trujillo Aguilera

Josephine Aguilera sits and contemplates her life during the Second World War.

She explained how her experience growing up was different from her two daughters’ because she never got the chance to finish school. She.

Andrew Aguirre

Andrew Aguirre's youth was overwhelmed with battlefield events that continue to haunt him to this day.

Aguirre was born in Vinton, Texas, on Jan. 4, 1925, and moved to San Diego three years later.

Mike Aguirre

SAN MARCOS, Texas -- When Mike Aguirre graduated from Brackenridge High School in San Antonio in 1939, many opportunities and doors were closed to Mexican Americans.

"One of my friends got a job at the Five and Dime.

Manuel Joseph Aguirre

Manuel Aguirre’s small stature prevented him from joining the Marines, but it didn’t keep him from doing his part in the war effort.

After hearing President Franklin D. Roosevelt tell the nation the Japanese had.

Gloria Araguz Alaniz

Gloria Araguz Alaniz began her role as the family caregiver when her mother passed away, leaving 15-year-old Alaniz to care for her.

Rodolfo Alaniz

In the spring of 1945, 16-year-old Rodolfo “Rudy” Alaniz's older brother Ricardo, a rifleman with the 8th Infantry Division, was killed in Germany, an event that would alter young Alaniz’s life.

Carmen Irizarry Albelo

When Carmen Albelo sailed from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to the United States in 1939, she envisioned a land of opportunity and freedom, not war, discrimination and loneliness.

"When I came here I thought I was.

Higinio Albelo

The choppy seas north of Scotland were dark.

A dense fog enveloped the Navy ship loaded with ammunition destined for Normandy, the site of the beginning of the end of World War II.

Joseph Alcoser

The Great Depression. World War II. The civil rights movement. Joseph Alcoser lived through these milestones in American history. Yet, he never truly felt that he was part of the country that he fought to defend.

Moses Aleman

When Moses “Moe” Alemán’s parents emigrated from Mexico to Austin, Texas, as children, the horse.

Juan Ramon Alires

Juan Ramon Alires was already the father of two children, with another baby on the way, when he went to war as part of the 11th Armored Division.

Alires was drafted into the Army and assigned to the 11th Armored.

Braulio Alonso

Of the many memories Braulio Alonso has of World War II, none stick out more than those tied to the liberation of Italy’s capital.

After Allied forces flooded Rome on June 4, 1945, some members of the 328th Field.

Raymond Phile Alvarado

It was Nov. 26, 1943, and Pvt. Raymond Alvarado played poker with his buddies on the HMT Rohna as it sailed along the coast of Algeria. The soldiers were relaxed. They chatted about their wives and girlfriends back.

Benjamin Alvarado

A pile of manure saved the life of Benjamin Alvarado during World War II in 1944.

A private in Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army, he served in the 317th Infantry Regiment of the 80th Infantry Division. Alvarado and.

Homero Alvarado

Homero Alvarado is a true American hero.

Born March 12, 1925, in Vera Cruz, Mexico, Alvarado and his 11 siblings, nine of whom are still living, were raised in a bilingual household by his Italian mother and Mexican.

Albert Jose Angel

After joining the Army during World War II, New Mexico native Albert Angel began fretting he’d spend the entire war fixing airplanes stateside, so he found his supervisor and confronted him:

Philip Antuna

Brothers Ralph and Philip Antuna can joke now about the food they had to eat while stationed in Europe in 1944. But underneath the laughter is a note of relief they made it out of Europe alive after fighting in the.

Ralph Antuna

Brothers Ralph and Philip Antuna can joke now about the food they had to eat while stationed in Europe in 1944. But underneath the laughter is a note of relief they made it out of Europe alive after fighting in the.

Jose Aragon

By Laura Lopez, California State University, Fullerton

Few people can claim to have been a veteran of three military branches.

And few can recall images of war as vividly as Jose Aragon did when, at the age of 84, he recounted his.

Joe A. Arambula

According to Joe Arambula, a veteran of some World War II's most intense battles in the European Theater, there is such a thing as being too careful in war. Seeing men killed for being too cautious made Arambula decide he'.

Eva Maria Rains Archuleta

Born in her grandmother's home in 1926, in the small agricultural town of Las Tusas in northern New Mexico, Eva Maria Archuleta lived a life of modest means, like most during the World War II era.

Benerito Seferino Archuleta

The six months Bennie Archuleta spent in battle in Europe during World War II changed his life forever.

As a 17-year-old teenager, he had rarely traveled outside of the American Southwest. But as a soldier in the.

Frank Arellano

In the early morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, 22-year-old Frank Arellano had just gone down for breakfast at Schoffield Barracks, on the Hawiian Island of Oahu, when he heard the sound of machine guns firing. He.

Ubaldo Arizmendi

Ubalbo C. Arizmendi is grateful to have seen the world, but regrets having seen it at a time when it was trying to destroy itself.

Born in the South Texas town of Brownsville, Arizmendi was 8 when his mother died. Although.

Albert Armendariz

Albert Armendariz has practiced law in Texas for over 50 years. The 81-year-old WWII veteran spends many weekends driving to represent his immigrant clients in West Texas who are trapped in the legal system.

Jesus Leyva Armendaríz

Jesus Leyva Armendaríz went from the depths of poverty during his Depression-era childhood in El Paso, Texas, to unimagined heights as a member of the famed "Blue Devils" of World War II.

Armendaríz served as a medic.

Tom Armendariz

For 72-year-old Thomas Armendariz, it was difficult to conjure up memories of World War II, though he does recall being assigned to a unit that included many Mexican Americans.

"I wasn't a volunteer. I was drafted.

Ceprian Armijo

Ceprian Armijo started working on nearby farms with his father in his hometown of Avondale, Colorado when he was at about 8 years old. Little did he know that nearly ten years later he would be going off to fight in World War.

Andres Arredondo

Andres Arredondo dealt with adversity throughout his life. He overcome the death of his father at an early age and endured the torture of being a prisoner of war during World War II. Yet, through it all, he has managed to.

Raul P. Arreola

Cirilo Primo Arteaga

Cirilo Primo Arteaga's parents came to the U.S. in 1918, fleeing the violence that followed the Mexican Revolution. His parents instilled in him a deep sense of patriotism for their adopted country. He also learned an.

Joseph Marion Autobee

Joe Autobee, of Publo, Colorado, grew accustomed to the taste of whiskey during his WWII service. As an Air Corps gunner pilot during World War II, he was given a sandwich and a glass of whiskey at the end of every raid.

Imogene Davis Avalos

When Imogene "Jean" Davis first laid eyes on Alfred Avalos in September of 1942, she didn’t notice he was more than a decade her senior, and that his skin was several shades darker than hers. She saw only that he was.


The Montana-class ships displaced at 65,000 tons standard, and then rose to a total of 70,965 tons under deep load. The ships dimensions were 280.57 meters long, 36.88 meters beam, and 11 meters draught. Machinery was eight Babcock & Wilcox 2 drum express type boilers driving four sets of Westinghouse geared steam turbines, generating a total of 172,000 shaft horsepower, and propelling the ships at a top speed of 28 knots. Under a continuous cruising speed of 15 knots, the Montana-class ships had a predicted range of 15,000 nautical miles. Crew was predicted to numbered at 2,355 for a standard vessel, and any Montana-class ships serving as flagships were predicted to have a crew of 2,789.

The armament of the Montana-class battleships would have been similar to that of the preceding Iowa-class battleships, but with an increase in the number of primary and secondary guns for use in combating enemy surface ships and aircraft. Had they been completed, the Montana-class ships would have been gun for gun the most powerful battleships the United States had constructed, and the only US battleship class that would have come close to equaling the Imperial Japanese Navy's Yamato-class battleships on a gun for gun and ton for ton basis. The primary armament of a Montana-class would have been twelve 16 inch Mk. 7 guns, which would have been mounted in four three gun turrets, two forward and two aft. The guns, the same mounted in the Iowa-class battleships, were 20 meters long – fifty times their 16 inch bore, or 50 calibers, from breechface to muzzle. Each gun weighed about 239,000 lb without the breech, and 267,900 lb with the breech. They fired projectiles weighing up to 2,700 lb at a maximum velocity of 820 meters per second for a distance of up to 28 miles. At maximum range the projectile would have spent almost one and a half minutes in flight. The addition of the fourth turret would have allowed the Montana-class to outgun the Yamato-class having heaviest broadside overall. The Montanas would have had a broadside of 32,400 lb compared to the Yamotos 28,800 lb. Each gun would have rested within an armored barbette, but only the top of the barbette would have protruded above the main deck. The barbettes would have extended either four decks at turrets 1 and 4 and five decks at turrets 2 and 3. The turrets would not have been attached to the ship, but would have rested on rollers, which meant that had any of the Montana-class ships capsized, the turrets would have fallen out, reducing the chance of them pulling the ship under. Each turret would have cost $1.4 million, but this figure did not take into account the cost of the guns themselves. The turrets would have been three-gun, not triple, the reason being that each barrel would have elevated and fired independently. The ships could fire any combination of their main battery, including a full broadside of all twelve. Contrary to popular belief, the ships would not have moved sideways noticeably when a broadside was fired. The guns would have been elevated from less than 5° to more than 45°, moving at up to 12° per second. The turrets would have rotated about 300° at about 4° per second and could even be fired back beyond the beam, which is sometimes called "over the shoulder". Within each turret, a red stripe on the wall of the turret, just inches from the railing, would have marked the boundary of the gun's recoil, providing the crew of each gun turret with a visual reference for the minimum safe distance range. Like most battleships in World War II, the Montana-class would have been equipped with a fire control computer, in this case the Ford Mk 1A ballistic computer, a 3,150 lb rangekeeper designed to direct fire on land, sea, and in the air. This analog computer would have been used to direct the fire from the battleship's big guns, taking into account several factors such as the speed of the targeted ship, the time it takes for a projectile to travel, and air resistance to the shells fired at a target. At the time the Montana-class was set to begin construction, the rangekeepers had gained the ability to use radar data to help target enemy ships and land based targets. The results of this advance were telling. The rangekeeper was able to track and fire at targets at a greater range and with increased accuracy, as was demonstrated in November 1942 when the North Carolina-class battleship USS Washington engaged the Imperial Japanese Navy battleship HIJMS Kirishima at a range of 18,500 yards at night. USS Washington scored at least nine heavy calibre hits that critically damaged Kirishima and led to her loss. This gave the US Navy a major advantage in War, as the Japanese did not develop radar or automated fire control to the level of the US Navy. The large caliber guns were designed to fire two different 16 inch (406 mm) shells. The Mk. 8 APC (Armor-Piercing, Capped) armor piercing shell was used for anti ship and anti structure work, and the Mk. 13 HC (High-Capacity—referring to the large bursting charge) high explosive shell was designed for use against unarmored targets and shore bombardment. The final type of ammunition developed for the 16 inch guns were W23 "Katie" shells. These shells were born from the nuclear deterrence that had begun to shape the US armed forces at the start of the Cold War. To compete with the Air Force and the Army, which had developed nuclear bombs and nuclear shells for use on the battlefield, the Navy began a top-secret program to develop Mk. 23 nuclear naval shells with an estimated yield of 15 to 20 kilotons. The shells entered development around 1953, and were reportedly ready by 1956. However, the cancellation of the Montana-class meant that only the Iowa-class battleships, mounting the same type of gun, could use the shells if the need had arisen.

The secondary armament for the Montana-class ships were to be twenty 5 inch mounted in ten turrets along the vessel's superstructure, five to starboard and five to port. These guns, designed specifically for the Montana-class ships, were to be the replacement for the 5 inch secondary guns then in great use within the United States Navy. The 5 inch gun turrets were similar to other 5 inch gun mounts in that they were equally adept as anti aircraft guns and for damaging smaller ships, but differed in that they weighed more, fired heavier shells, and resulted in faster crew fatigue than other 5 inch guns. The ammunition storage for the 5 inch gun was 500 rounds per turret, and the guns could fire at targets nearly 26,000 yards away at a 45° angle, and at an 85° angle, the guns could hit an aerial target at an altitude of over 50,000 feet. The cancellation of the Montana-class vessels in 1943 pushed back the combat debut of the new 5 inch guns to 1945, when they were used aboard the United States Navy's Midway-class aircraft carriers. The guns proved adequate for the carrier's air defense, but were gradually phased out of use by the carrier fleet because of their weight.

For the first time since the construction of the Iowa-class battleships, the United States Navy was not building a fast battleship class solely for the purpose of escorting Pacific based aircraft carriers, and thus the Montana-class ships would not be designed principally for escorting the fast carrier task forces. Nonetheless they would have been equipped with a wide array of anti aircraft guns to protect themselves and other ships, principally the US aircraft carriers, from Japanese aircraft. The Montana-class were planned to mount ten to forty 40 mm Bofors AA guns and fifty-six 20 mm Oerlikon AA guns.

The Montana-class ships would have been the US Navy's only battleships of World War II to be adequately armored against guns of the same power as their own. The side belt measured 16.1 inches tapering down to 10.2 inches on a 1 inch STS plate inclined at 19°. The lower side belt measured at 7.2 inches tapered to 1 inch inclined at 10°. Torpedo bulkheads measured at 18 inches forward, and 15.25 inches aft. Barbettes measured at 21.3 inches forward, and 18 inches aft. Main turrets measured up to 22.5 inches and decks up to 6 inches.

The Montana-class ships would have also been able to carry three to four aircraft for reconnaissance and for gunnery spotting purposes. The type of aircraft used would have depended on when exactly the battleships would have been commissioned, but in all probability they would have used either the Vought OS2U Kingfisher or the Curtiss SC Seahawk floatplane. The aircraft would have been floatplanes launched from catapults on the ship's aft. They would have then been recovered by crane.

WWII Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet Discovered in Solomon Islands

The late Paul Allen’s research team discovered the wreckage of World War II’s USS Hornet (CV-8), the aircraft carrier that launched the Doolittle Raid and participated in the Battle of Midway before being sunk in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands by Japanese dive bombers, torpedo planes and ship-launched torpedoes.

“Wreckage of the USS Hornet was discovered in late January 2019, 5,330 meters (nearly 17,500 feet) below the surface, resting on the floor of the South Pacific Ocean,” the R/V Petrel team and parent company Vulcan announced online.

“We had the Hornet on our list of WWII warships that we wanted to locate because of its place in history as a capitol carrier that saw many pivotal moments in naval battles,” Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Vulcan, said in the announcement. “Paul Allen was particularly interested in aircraft carriers so this was a discovery that honors his memory,” Kraft said of Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen, who died last year.

A pair of alert escorts follow the USS Hornet with carried 16 B-25 bombers for the ‘Doolittle Raid’ on April 18, 1942. US Air Force Photo

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran, a naval aviator himself, said Tuesday morning that “Naval aviation came of age in World War II and American sailors today continue to look to and draw inspiration from the fighting spirit of ships and crews like USS Hornet (CV 8). Although her service was short-lived, it was meteoric. In the dark days following the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, she and the Doolittle Raiders were the first Americans to punch back at Japan, giving hope to the nation and the world when things looked bleakest. She was there when the American Navy turned the tide in the Pacific at the Battle of Midway, and she was there when America started the long drive to Tokyo in the Solomon Islands. Mortally wounded during the vicious campaign at Guadalcanal and abandoned after all attempts to save her failed, she was finally sent below by the Japanese destroyers Akigumo and Makigumo. As America’s Navy once again takes to the sea in an uncertain world, Hornet‘s discovery offers the American sailor a timeless reminder of what courage, grit, and commitment truly look like. We’d be wise as a nation to take a long, hard look. I’d also like to thank the crew of Petrel for their dedication in finding and honoring her sacrifice.”

The crew of Allen’s ship, R/V Petrel, earlier this month announced the discovery of Japanese ship IJN Hiei on Feb. 6. Hiei was found near Hornet, both in the southern Solomon Islands. Petrel goes on expeditions and searches multiple known or expected wreckage sites in the same at-sea period, often announcing a cluster of discoveries in short succession. Last spring, the billionaire and his research team announced the discovery of carrier USS Lexington (CV-2), cruiser USS Juneau (CL-52) and cruiser USS Helena (CL-50) in March and April.

Exploring the wreck where it rests 5,000 m below the surface. R/V Petrel photo.

According to the Vulcan announcement, “The 10-person expedition team on the 250-foot R/V Petrel were able to locate the Hornet’s position by piecing together data from national and naval archives that included official deck logs and action reports from other ships engaged in the battle. Positions and sightings from nine other U.S. warships in the area were plotted on a chart to generate the starting point for the search grid. In the case of the Hornet, she was discovered on the first dive mission of the Petrel’s autonomous underwater vehicle and confirmed by video footage from the remotely operated vehicle, both pieces of equipment rated to dive down to 6,000 meters.”

In April 1942, just months after Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor, U.S. Army Lt. Col. James Doolittle launched the first retaliatory air raid on the Japanese homeland. Sixteen B-25 bombers launched from Hornet’s deck, hitting targets in Tokyo, Yokosuka, Yokohama, Kobe and Nagoya. Most of the aircraft crash-landed behind Japanese lines in China.

International Harvester aircraft tug sitting upright on USS Hornet. R/V Petrel photo.

USS Wahoo Is Back: New Nuclear Subs Named for Storied WWII Boats

University of Virginia fans rejoice: The Navy's newest submarine will be a Wahoo.

Well, not exactly. The newest Virginia-class submarine will be named the USS Wahoo in honor of the legacies of two previous submarines, including a storied World War II vessel that was sunk by a torpedo on Oct. 11, 1943.

Along with the Wahoo, the Navy also announced Wednesday that another future Virginia-class submarine will be named Tang, also in honor of a World War II boat, whose commander was awarded the Medal of Honor, and a Vietnam-era submarine.

Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite has made a point of naming vessels after others with historical Navy legacies, and Wahoo and Tang certainly fit the bill.

"The success in battle both previous namesakes endured will undoubtedly bring great pride to the future crews of USS Tang and USS Wahoo," Braithwaite said in a release. "Along with the previously named USS Barb (SSN 804), these boats will honor the strong traditions and heritage of the silent service."

Commissioned shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, the Wahoo, SS-238, was a Gato-class submarine and the "most storied boat in the fleet" at the time of its sinking, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command.

In seven patrols in the Pacific, Wahoo earned six battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation, having sunk 20 Japanese ships -- 19 of which were destroyed in the boat's last five combat patrols. Wahoo's skipper, Lt. Cmdr. Dudley Walker "Mush" Morton, is considered the third most successful submarine commander of the war, having earned four Navy Crosses. The last was awarded posthumously.

The last days aboard the Wahoo must have been harrowing: Six days before the vessel was sunk, it attacked a Japanese convoy and sank the 8,100-ton troop transport Konron Maru, killing 544 people, including two members of the Japanese House of Representatives.

Revenge followed: The Wahoo was stalked by Japanese forces. According to Japanese records reviewed by Navy historians, when it surfaced the morning of Oct. 11, possibly already having sustained damage, it was fired on by Japanese shore batteries. It then submerged and reversed course, possibly striking a mine in the process.

It was then attacked by five aircraft and surface depth charges, enduring at least 40 bombs and 69 depth charges. When the attack was over, 79 souls aboard were gone.

The boat was located in 2005 by a private group in the La Perouse Strait, between Japanese-owned Hokkaido and Russian-owned Sakhalin, sitting upright in 212 feet of water, largely intact. It had suffered a direct bombing hit to its conning tower.

The second USS Wahoo, SS-565, was commissioned on Memorial Day 1952 and decommissioned in 1988, after serving in the Pacific as part of Seventh Fleet and completing two tours in Vietnam.

The World War II-era USS Tang was commanded by Cmdr. Richard O'Kane, who cut his teeth as executive officer of the Wahoo during that boat's first five patrols, according to the Navy. O'Kane is considered the most successful submarine officer in World War II and earned the Medal of Honor, three Navy Crosses, three Silver Stars and the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" device.

At the height of its operations, the Balo-class submarine Tang, SS-306, sank a Japanese vessel roughly every 11 days. Launched in 1943, the Tang is credited with sinking 31 ships totaling 227,800 tons and damaging two for 4,100 tons.

On Oct. 24, 1944, the Tang fired on a Japanese convoy, striking a tanker and sinking a Japanese destroyer. As it launched a final strike to finish off the tanker, however, the last torpedo, an electric Mark 18, turned around and began heading toward the Tang. Despite an avoidance maneuver by O'Kane, the explosive struck the Tang near its stern.

Nine personnel from the bridge, including O'Kane, were able to swim to the surface. Thirteen sailors inside the submarine also escaped, but only five made it through the night. The remainder of the crew perished. Survivors were picked up by the crews of the vessels Tang had been attacking they became prisoners of war.

The second USS Tang, SS-563, was the first ship in its class of diesel submarines, commissioned in October 1951. It went on to earn four battle stars for service in Vietnamese waters and later became a training vessel in Groton, Connecticut. It was decommissioned in February 1980. That Tang eventually was transferred to the Turkish Navy and is now a museum attraction.

"Naming Virginia-class submarines is a unique opportunity to reclaim submarine names that carry inspirational records of achievement," Braithwaite said.

Several variants of the Virginia class, projected to include 37 boats, are being built by General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries. Eighteen submarines that have already been commissioned are named for states one has been named for a person -- retired Virginia Sen. John Warner.

Ten subs under construction or on order are to be named for states. One is to be named for the father of the nuclear Navy, retired Adm. Hyman Rickover, and one will be named USS Barb, in honor of a World War II submarine whose crew conducted the only ground combat operation of the war on the Japanese homeland at the time, blowing up a train on Karafuto Prefecture.

The original Barb, Tang and Wahoo were all named for fish: Barb is a derivation of Barbus, a ray-finned fish tangs are surgeonfish found in the Pacific and wahoos are a highly prized sport fish that are native to tropical and subtropical seas.

As an aside, the University of Virginia's official mascot is the Cavalier, but the unofficial nickname for its sport teams, fans, students and alumni is the Wahoos -- a moniker that dates to the late 19th century when "wa-hoo-wa" was a common rallying cry at sporting events, originating at Dartmouth College.

Giles R. Wright Jr., renowned scholar of African American history, dies at 73

About a decade ago, imaginations were captured by a tale of African-Americans weaving secret codes into quilt patterns in the 1800s to pass on clues and directions to runaway slaves in their perilous journey to freedom.

Previously considered folklore and once the basis for a children's fiction book, many people began to believe it was fact after the 1999 publication of "Hidden in Plain View," a non-fiction book embraced by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey. In it, a South Carolina woman told the authors her family had an oral history, passed down through generations, about her ancestors weaving codes into quilts.

It was an endearing and inspiring tale, yet Giles R. Wright Jr. was skeptical.

While educators eagerly began teaching it as fact and some museums dedicated displays to quilt recreations, the renowned New Jersey historian publicly demanded evidence. Where, he asked, were remnants of the quilts, corroborating historical records and documentation of other family oral histories?

"Some black quilters have accused me of denying our heritage. I'm trying to protect it," Mr. Wright told The Star-Ledger in an interview three years ago, just before his once-controversial conclusions became embraced by most historians.

Experts said no proof of the quilt codes has ever been substantiated.

Mr. Wright, 73, died yesterday at Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mt. Holly. He had been director of the Afro-American History Program at the New Jersey Historical Commission from its inception in 1979 until he retired last year after suffering a stroke.

Clement A. Price, a friend and Rutgers University history professor who worked closely with Wright on several projects, said he never fully recovered.

Marc Mappen, executive director of the state Historical Commission, said Mr. Wright, who lived in Willingboro with his wife, Marjorie, was nationally known for documenting black history, and particularly for his expertise on African-Americans in New Jersey and the Underground Railroad.

"He had become a very influential person in the history of blacks, especially because of his book, "The History of African Americans in New Jersey," Mappen said. "Giles had very firm standards of proof. . . He was a very careful researcher, very careful in his writings. He wanted to make sure it was accurate. He did a study of the Underground Railroad in New Jersey, and that's an area with a lot of shaky claims."

It was during that time when Mr. Wright took on a role as official skeptic.

He once explained that the Underground Railroad had become the most popular subject in black history, largely because it was a story of racial cooperation in "the noble cause of eliminating black bondage." In turn, people romanticized the struggle, even by imagining their own connection to it through family lineage or geographic location, he said.

"Unfortunately, a number of myths about the Underground Railroad have come into existence over the years," Wright said in a 2006 interview, adding that it "has taken on the proportions of a 'George Washington slept here' story."

Few tales withstood his scrutiny, and Mr. Wright did not care how long a myth had persevered or how widely it was embraced. He once debunked claims that the basement of a Burlington County liquor store was part of the Underground Railroad, long after it became a tourist spot and clairvoyants declared they could "feel" the spirits of the slaves there.

"If it lacked proof, he questioned it," Price explained.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Wright is survived by a son, Giles R. Wright III. Arrangements are still being made for funeral services.

Among his many writings and publications was, "Moving Toward Breaking the Chains: Black New Jerseyans and the American Revolution," which was included in "New Jersey in the American Revolution," published in 2005. He also wrote 12 entries in the "Encyclopedia of New Jersey," and authored a widely embraced pamphlet, "Steal Away, Steal Away: A Guide to the Underground Railroad in New Jersey," in 2002.

Mr. Wright assisted in the preparation of the "New Jersey African-American Curriculum Guide: Grades 9 to 12," and he wrote the script and companion teachers' guides for educational videos of historical African-American figures.

He earned a bachelor's degree at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, a master's in African Studies at Howard University, and pursued doctoral studies in comparative labor history at Rutgers. He also taught Labor Studies and Afro-American history at Rutgers, and co-founded the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series with Price.

He will probably be remembered most for his strict requirements for historical proof, especially when it came to African-American history.

"To Giles, it (the quilting codes) was absolute poppycock," said Price. "To some, facts don't matter if you tell a good story. Giles would not compromise.

"He insisted on facts, and a lot of people went after Giles for that," Price said. "About a year ago, he began to get all but official apologies from most of them."

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