Monthly Archives: November 2013

Ship band playing

Anchors Aweigh

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According to Wikipedia, Anchors Aweigh was first played during the Army–Navy football game on December 1, 1906, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Before a crowd in excess of 30,000 Navy won the game 10–0, their first win in the match up since 1900.

Listen to Anchors Aweigh here, courtesy The U.S. Navy Band and

The song was gradually adopted as the song of the U.S. Navy; although there is a pending proposal to make it the official song, and to incorporate protocol into Navy regulations for its performance, its status remains unofficial.

As part of the date of the first playing, we pay recognition to the Band aboard the NORTH CAROLINA.  This is part 2 of 2 of the Band Series.

Ship band playing

“The Crinoline Lady has a band that is already receiving favorable mention in service music circles. Almost complete now the 20 piece organization gives out several times a day and is well received. The applause is accepted with a gracious bow by Bandmaster Raymond A. Ruther, who came in the service in 1923 as a musician 2/c. His instrument is the trumpet. As usual in navy bands, the lads double as an orchestra, which is really getting good. While not setting themselves us as composers, they have written a little dish which is tentatively called “Bounce in B Flat” for want of a better name. Your reporter listened to it and it really sizzles. They are also working on a “North Carolina March.” Right now they need a theme song which will serve to identify the orchestra at dances, also a suitable name for that organization.”

Tarheel, May 31, 1941

“Dinner in the wardroom would become by our standards then a rather festive occasion. A combo from the ship’s band comprising four or five men, a bass fiddle, a pianist etc. would come up and play dinner music. Popular music of the day was played all through the dinner, so it was kind of like a nightclub.”

Capt. Ben Blee, USN (Ret)

Combo band playing in Wardroom, November 1944

“Congratulations to the entire band for the splendid work they’ve done in making these long periods at sea more pleasant with the daily concerts. We are for them all the way, and by the crowd that gathers on the main deck aft every afternoon one can measure our appreciation of their efforts.”

Tarheel, August 1, 1942

“A vote of appreciation from the F Division to the swinging, jumping jive section of the Ship’s Band, which has done so much to keep the crew happy during our long days at sea. It’s worth the price of admission just to sit by “Hep Cat” Roberts, and to watch “Curley” Martineau go into his trance when “Smitty” of the band takes off on his horn; or to see such an artist as the man who so fleetingly interpreted the Dance of the Wilted Rag in the shade of Turret #3 one evening.”

Tarheel, October 10, 1942

“Today peace was declared. Band played “Star Spangled Banner” from the boat deck as Old Glory was raised.”

Lloyd Glick, Musician 1/c

Bandmaster Raymond Ruther

“Band #101 was organized at the Navy School of Music, Washington DC in June 1945, and assigned to BB55. The band originally consisted of 23 bandsmen under the direction of CPO Lakin. We reached BB55 in mid August 1945. When not at General Quarters or taking classes for damage control, the band played noon concerts in the mess halls, did some singing for church services, broke into small combos to play for the officers in their wardroom. When the refueling went on, the band played top side. The Brits were always cheered when we played the “Beer Barrel Polka.” In the middle of 1946, the ship was moved to Bayonne, NJ, and on February 15 Band #101 was broken up.”

Atwell Bookmiller


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“The first one served is the Officer of the Deck. He had to come down and look at the chow and eat it. If it is suitable to him, then the chow line starts. If there were any grievance he has about the looks of it or the taste of it, then the chow line would be secured until all this would be taken care of. There was seldom any time the chow line wasn’t palatable. We ate very well on here. We had fresh baked goods all the time. They’d be baking pies and cakes and jelly doughnuts. We had ice cream all the time.”

Chief Herbert L. Sisco

“I knew one guy on the ship that I grew up with. He was in the same high school I was. He was in the bake shop. Now, I was fortunate to know him because if anything was left over, he would call up the engine room, ‘Neumann, send up a messenger. I have some leftover pies.’ I would send up the messenger and he would come down with the pies. I always had something to eat. He would make a pie or a cake. He would actually make a flat pizza pie and he would send some down to us. He always took care of me like that.”

“A mess cook is a guy who is in his white uniform and he is up in the mess hall and he takes care of the mess tables and makes sure there is coffee on the tables and sugar and whatever is necessary. Everybody has to go through that in their Navy career. It is three months. Somehow if you try to get that mess cooking duty within a year and I was an old soul of a year and a half, so I had to go to mess cooking.”

Leo Neumann


“In 1942, everything was Spam, Spam, Spam for breakfast, dinner and supper with eggs. Back then they had powdered eggs and dehydrated spuds. They got a little bit better and a little bit better after a while. Now that I’m old and think about it, they had the finest food, but we were young and criticized the cook and everybody else. There was a Chief Steward, his name was Jackson. For a while, he started giving nothing but bologna. Somebody told the captain that ‘they are going to throw him overboard.’ If I recall correctly, they had a Marine orderly with him for a while who followed him around for a few weeks. They finally changed the menu.”

Jerry S. Gonzales

“I always thought the chow was fantastic, I enjoyed every bit of it. Some of my favorites were beans for breakfast, beef on toast, eggs (out at sea they were usually powdered but sometimes we got fresh ones). Our bakery was exceptional; we had pies, cake, homemade bread and rolls. Seconds were sometimes available and sometimes refused, but usually if there was some leftover we were allowed. One thing we always were sure we did when we had biscuits or bread or anything like that was before we ate it we held them up to the light to make sure there weren’t any black spots in them as we did have a lot of cockroaches! Quite often we would find them in the bread, sometimes so many of them we thought there were raisins in them! “

Robert L. Palomaris


“Well I was always in the galley, even if I had to make a pot of coffee or something for the men. The other boys had a battle station, most of them were on the ammunition passing, or on the hoist. I stayed in the galley all the time. I never saw anything, matter of fact I didn’t want to see anything.”

Charles Frost

“…I was given ten hours extra duty, which I had my choice of taking either the laundry or the galley. I picked the galley because I usually talked the cooks into a little extra grub.

… I always made it a habit to be friendly with the cooks and bakers because, you know, if you wanted a little extra. … When they baked pies, there was always somebody who would get the juice off the cherries and stuff like that. We’d have jugs from the coke back in the ship’s store, we’d put it up in the boat crane deck underneath there. It was real warm, and we let it ferment.”

Dan Schroll


“July 18, 1942. Chow is being rationed to maintain enough for us to stay out for two months – one egg or two pancakes for breakfast – baked beans for dinner. I might lose some weight on this kind of rations.”

Edward J. Gillespie, officer, journal entry, after Ship left Pearl Harbor and was headed for action for the first time. Officers were allowed to keep journals. No one was to keep a personal diary, but a number of them did.


November Wedding

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Norma Peterson and Stan Shefveland both grew up in the town of Clarkfield, Minnesota. It was at Clarkfield High School where their paths first crossed. Norma started high school in the fall of 1939 where Stan was working part time as a hall monitor to earn extra money for his education. Norma recalls distinctly, “I had my eye on him from the beginning.”

After Norma graduated from high school in 1943, she worked as the “ration girl” selling gasoline ration stamps to farmers in western Minnesota. Norma and Stan both ate at the same restaurant daily, but it took a horror movie to bring them together. “One evening I went to a show in town there and happened to sit alongside him. It turned out to be kind of a scary show, so we started holding hands. I saw him the next noon again at lunch and he had enjoyed the idea and we became better acquainted and started having dates.”

Stan left for boot camp right after Christmas in early 1944. After a short leave in March, Stan was assigned to the NORTH CAROLINA. Through newspapers and radio, Norma kept informed of the latest developments in the war. Stan and Norma also kept in touch by writing letters, which Norma received almost daily.

When NORTH CAROLINA docked in Bremerton, Washington, Stan returned to Clarkfield and proposed to Norma on September 1, 1944. After the war, the couple was married on November 18, 1945 and honeymooned in Minneapolis.