USS Indianapolis in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1937. US Navy Photo
The following is a 1999 article from Proceedings, originally titled: The Sinking of the Indy & Responsibility of Command.
The July 30, 1945 sinking of the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) by the Imperial Japanese submarine 1-58 has been called the last, great naval tragedy of World War II. It is the stuff of legend: after delivering the atomic bombs to Tinian, the Indy was torpedoed, sinking in 12 minutes. At least 800 crew members survived the sinking and went into the water. On their rescue after five days, only 320 still were alive. Their stories have inspired three books, a movie, and perhaps yet another feature film. Read More
A Coast Guard RHIB off Manhattan on the morning of 11 September 2001.
The U.S. Coast Guard led a water evacuation of more than 500,000 people from Manhattan following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center towers in an action that moved more people from the island than the 1940 evacuation of Allied troops from France, according to a new oral history of former USCG commandant, Adm. James Loy. Read More
A film about kamikaze pilots has been playing to packed theaters from Hokkaido to Kyushu since its release in December of 2013, becoming one of the top-grossing Japanese productions of all time. In addition to attracting the admiration of Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, “The Eternal Zero” has drawn a fair amount of criticism for being the latest in a string of recent films that mythologize the Japanese role in World War II. Read More
Lt. Hiroo Onoda shortly after he was discovered in 1974 after continuing to fight for almost 30 years after the end of World War II.
An Imperial Japanese Army officer who hid on a Philippine island refusing to surrender until 29 years after World War II ended died on Friday at age 91. Read More
During World War II, Disney had its artists draw up roughly 1,200 insignias for the U.S. military, many for Naval units. After Mickey Mouse rode a goose in a patch for a Naval Reserve squadron stationed at Floyd Bennett Field in New York, the illustrations became illustrious among units and inspired Naval artists to recreate the magic, designing their own logos in the Disney style. Read More
USS Yorktown after a series of torpedo strikes in 1942. Naval Institute Archives
The following ran in Proceedings in May 1968:
The tension in I-168’s conning tower had been steadily building up for six and a half hours. In the cramped command post, I stood, palms out, waiting to grip the rising periscope’s handles. We were all perspiring heavily. My torpedo petty officer was scanning his switch panel, and a nervous helmsman wiped clammy hands frequently on his pants. Lieutenant (jg) Nakagawa, pencil in hand, mopped his damp brow between looks at the compass and speed indicator. But my gunnery officer, Ensign Watanabe, seemed almost unconcerned. Of the five, his job was by far the simplest. Our submarine was creeping straight toward the crippled American aircraft carrier Yorktown. There were no ballistics problems for Watanabe to work out-the range was point-blank, and target speed was nearly zero.
The whine of the periscope’s lift motor died away as I sighted through the eyepiece. I had been allowing myself a maximum of five seconds on each sight check and I didn’t intend to change the tactic. One quick glance would give me the range, and I could give the order to fire torpedoes.
Friday’s deployment of USS Freedom (LCS 1) will revive a tradition of camouflaging warships. Outside of smaller patrol boats, the U.S. largely abandoned elaborate color schemes and stuck with haze gray.
USS Freedom in its new paint scheme on Feb. 22. US Navy Photo
But with the advent of the Littoral Combat Ship, a combatant designed to operate close to shore, the concept has returned. To put Freedom’s new look in context, the following are some examples of patterns from the past.
Naval History Magazine, January 2013
After more than five exhausting years of global conflict, the British Commonwealth organized a powerful modern fleet that fought as equal partners with the U.S. Navy in the late stages of the Pacific war.
For the Royal Navy, the end seemed to come quickly in the Pacific war. Less than three days after the conflict’s outbreak, Japanese aircraft attacked and sank the most powerful British warships in Far Eastern waters, the modern battleship Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser Repulse . Their loss, followed within a couple of months by the capture of the naval bases in Hong Kong and Singapore, effectively drove the British navy out of the Pacific.
But the Royal Navy—in the form of the British Pacific Fleet (BPF)—returned to make a major contribution in 1945 to the defeat of Japan. The BPF, its vital bases, and logistical support organization did not exist until late 1944, but eight months later, the fleet had become the most powerful deployed force in the history of the Royal Navy.
The BPF did not begin to come into focus until the August 1943 Quadrant Conference of Allied leaders in Quebec. Agreement was reached that greater priority should be given to the Pacific war, while retaining the “Germany first” principle. But for much of 1944, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff argued over how best to implement the decisions.
Naval History Magazine, December 2012
Shortly before the end of the midwatch on 8 December 1941, a radioman on board the destroyer-seaplane tender USSWilliam B. Preston (AVD-7), at anchor in Malalag Bay off Davao Gulf, Mindanao, in the Philippines, picked up an urgent message: JAPAN HAS COMMENCED HOSTILITIES. GOVERN YOU[R]SELVES ACCORDINGLY.
Lieutenant Commander Etheridge Grant, the ship’s commanding officer, seeing no mention of exactly where the Japanese had “commenced hostilities,” immediately put his ship on a full war footing. Bluejackets belted ammunition for the ship’s four .50-caliber water-cooled Browning machine guns on the galley deckhouse amidships.
Within hours, 13 Nakajima Type 97 B5N “Kate” attack planes and nine Mitsubishi A5M4 Type 96 “Claude” fighters from the carrier Ryujo swept in, destroying two Consolidated PBY-4 Catalina patrol bombers moored a mile from the ship, killing one man and wounding two. The William B. Preston slipped anchor and zigzagged out of the bay Noting the enemy approaching from downwind, Grant remembered he “had always had a tendency to over-shoot [in those situations] . . . thinking that the Japs weren’t any smarter than I had been I applied that lesson to good advantage.” Thus when the B5N pilots reached the drop point on the beam, Grant had the ship turned toward them. “We took aboard some muddy water and a few bomb fragments,” he noted later, “but no one got hurt.” The William B. Preston , the first ship of the Asiatic Fleet to come under Japanese attack at the start of the Pacific war, had survived her first battle.
The William P. Preston (AVP-20) as she was first commissioned as a small seaplane tender in the summer of 1940, painted in No. 5 Navy Gray with her identification number in white with black shadowing. J.M. Caiella
Authorized on 6 October 1917, the William B. Preston (Destroyer No. 344)—named for the Secretary of the Navy under President Zachary Taylor—was laid down at the Norfolk Navy Yard on 18 November 1918, a week after the Armistice that ended World War I. At launching on 7 August 1919, however, it appeared as if the ship did not want to go to sea, for she proceeded just 28 inches in 45 minutes before she stuck fast. The next day a tug pulled her an additional 190 feet before she once again stopped. Divers discovered her weight had forced the ways apart some 10 feet. A 150-ton yard crane was positioned and put into use, allowing the William B. Preston finally to enter her element at 2022 on 9 August.