Monthly Archives: August 2013

Surrender

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Captain Hanlon announces end of the war

Captain Hanlon announces end of war

“I was below deck when Captain Hanlon announced the war was over and I can still to this day remember him saying ‘Now here this, this is the captain’ and then he went into telling us. Boy, you talk about a roar that went up! I think the whole ship jumped about two feet out of the water! Admiral ‘Bull’ Halsey passed the word throughout the fleet that ‘Apparently the war is over, though nothing has been signed yet. So in the meantime, if any enemy aircraft come in your area, shoot them down in a friendly manner…’ So we were still absolutely ready at all times. “

Shortly after the end of the war, I was up on 20mm watch in Tokyo Bay and we were playing cards and not really worrying about anything when I noticed a bunch of sailors assembling something down on the main deck. I thought it looked like a boat or something and wondered where in the world it came from. It was actually a little 14 to 16 foot sailboat that belonged to the captain and had been all packed up until this time. He had made a vow somewhere that the one thing he wanted more than anything else was to sail this sailboat in Tokyo Bay. I watched them lower over and he walked down the plank and got on that thing and I could see him sailing around past all of our ships.

Robert L. Palomaris

“We got word over the public address system that the Japanese surrender. ‘The war is over’ and you could have heard us over in New York City screaming out there in the middle of the Pacific.”

Paul A. Wieser

“I remember before the war was over there was a man named Kaiser, a seaman in the 4th Division. He was a telephone talker, a stand-by telephone talker. A message came over and everybody was talking and sort of having a little fun. He wanted to keep us quiet because a message was coming over. It was something about an unusual type of bomb or heavy explosion that had happened to Japan. But it didn’t make sense to anybody there, and we make fun of him a little bit. He kind of got mad about it. A little later on we learned that the first atomic bomb had been exploded which was bringing Japan down to her knees at the end of the war…

We were wanting to get the war over with. If we were going to survive, we’d survive and if we didn’t, we didn’t. The main thing was to get it over with. I just wanted to get back to the hills of Tennessee. I just knew I was wanting to get off the NORTH CAROLINA, get out of the war, get back home, and pick up where I left off. I remember feeling proud. I had a lot of pride in the NORTH CAROLINA, even with the type of job I had. I felt that the war was necessary. I had no regrets of doing it.”

Ollie C. Goode

Baptism of Fire

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Plane drawing

Crewmember Art Hahn drew this drawing of a Japanese plane during the battle. A piece of the plane’s fabric is part of the drawing’s fuselage.

AUGUST 24, 1942: Baptism of Fire – the Battleship’s first battle engagement

“The engagement only lasted seven minutes. It seemed like hours at the time. I remember talking to the men in my division in the starboard battery. The seamen were manning these machine guns — 50 calibers and 20mm, and they were the most excited and proud people. They fought like they had knocked down every single plane in the ocean. We were all claiming having shot down about 350 aircraft, and really there were only about 75. The Japanese did suffer a terrible loss that afternoon. But we became men. The maturity of our seamen and our officers after that, the change in maturity and attitude and way we approached problems, was entirely different. We had grown up in seven minutes.”

Rear Admiral Julian T. Burke, USN (Ret)

“All of a sudden all hell broke loose…you could see these dive-bombers coming down on the ENTERPRISE. It was hit. All of a sudden, the planes were coming our way and attack us. I think that it was just a matter of minutes…a total of about eight minutes of action. It’s the old story about it being like an eternity. A couple of things stand out to me very clearly. One Japanese plane went down the side of the ship. Again this was the first new battleship they had seen out there. He was just staring at it. I could see his eyes, and I could see his face; and he was just trying to get a fix. I think what he wanted to do was hope he would get away and report exactly what the ship looked like. He was very close, close enough to see his face; and all of a sudden, he got hit. I think one of the 20mm got him.”

Larry Resen, Firecontrolman 1/c

Plane fragment

According to the official action report “a piece of the fabric from a Japanese plane was recovered on deck” and was sent to Headquarters.

“The really funny thing happened right after the shoot. There were brass cartridges everywhere, which had to be picked up, and new ammo brought up to ‘get ready for the next attack’ which thankfully didn’t materialize. Apparently our air strike had caused sufficient damage so that the enemy couldn’t launch a second strike either. Peace and quiet returned as bedlam left. Abruptly, one of the seaman gunners named Tony, an Italian from Upstate New York, straightened up and cried out, ‘Jeepers creepers, my enlistment expires today!’ The bosun’s mate chided him, ‘Now Tony, relax, you know you’re going to ship over (re-enlist)!’ Tony replied, somewhat tenaciously, ‘The XXX I am, I can still smell the XXX on the plow!’ That really broke the tension. Sailors were laughing and rolling on the deck. There we were, about 10,000 miles from Tony’s farm, in the bright blue Pacific, South that is, having just survived a major air attack.’ I guess we all thought more of home and family later that bright sunny afternoon!”

Captain Edward F. Gallagher, USN (Ret)

Burial at Sea of Conlon

Burial at sea of George Conlon, AMM3/c, who was killed in action during the Battle of Eastern Solomons. He was a gunner on a 20mm starboard side gun when he was hit.

Love Story: Jean & Paul Wieser

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Jean and Paul Wieser

Jean Coddington and Paul Wieser grew up in the town of Linden, New Jersey, in a neighborhood where the only thing that separated their two houses was a picket fence. Although Jean and Paul had the opportunity to go on a couple of dates before Paul joined the Navy in 1941, it was the exchange of letters that fostered their relationship and love.

When NORTH CAROLINA came to Pearl Harbor for repairs, Paul made a trip to the store on base to purchase Jean’s engagement and wedding rings. Since two more years would pass before Paul would get to see Jean, he sent the two rings to his older brother and asked him to propose to Jean in his place.

In August of 1944, NORTH CAROLINA docked in Bremerton, Washington. There she would stay for 60 days. After two long years of being apart, this short break gave Paul the chance to be reunited with his sweetheart. On Saturday, August 16, 1944, Paul and Jean were joined in marriage at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Linden, New Jersey.

The newlyweds then took off for their honeymoon in New York City. After a three-night stay at the Hotel Imperial, the couple headed out for Washington. Jean and Paul were able to spend another 30 days together before NORTH CAROLINA returned to the South Pacific. When the ship left, Jean returned home. She lived with her mother until Paul was discharged from the Navy in December 1946.

Jean passed away in 1957 and Paul followed in 2006. The Battleship’s collection includes the letters that Paul wrote Jean everyday during the war.