Tag Archives: mate 1

Damage Control

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Hatch markings

“First, what is Damage Control? Damage Control consists of the methods used to preserve stability, watertight integrity, buoyancy and maneuverability, to control list and trim, to effect rapid repairs to material and damage, to provide protection from fire and chemical agents and facilitate care of the wounded. Watertight integrity, one of more important factors in Damage Control, must be preserved. One man’s carelessness may cause a disastrous result to a ship. It remains a fact that an open or improperly dogged door or hatch compromises the watertight integrity of the ship and endangers your live and the lives of your shipmates. So, please think twice before requesting permission once.”

Tarheel, October 3, 1942

BB55 crew member Lou Popovich was in the R Division (Hull) post-war and explains damage control on the Battleship. Lou’s duties included maintaining and operating the #2 pump room, taking soundings throughout the ship, and conducting pressure tests of compartments to insure watertight integrity.

“As a cook I was in a repair party and that is damage control. All throughout the ship you have damage control stations. In case of a bomb or you get hit with a torpedo our job is to go and put the fire out and shore up that excess damage. Like when we got torpedoed…right away you have to go and close the previous compartment down to that and flood the other compartment so that it would level off.”

Herbert Sisco, Ship’s Cook 2/c

Hatches cartoon

“The torpedo hit was something else. I was on watch in #1 pump room, in a cot reading when all of a sudden I was tossed out on the grating. The lights went out and I could hear water running. I reached for a battle lamp, that expired but I turned to my flashlight. The pump room was filled with smoke. I immediately called Damage Control for permission to go to my regular repair station and get a rescue breather and light. Permission was granted. As I went for the apparatus I noticed there was about 6 or 8 inches of water around the barbette. I returned to the pump room and asked for relief as my battle station was elsewhere. No relief was forthcoming so I took orders from Damage Control to counter flood.”

John C. Hively, Carpenter’s Mate 1/c

Crew Memories

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Crew Memories of military service from some of the men who are no longer with us this Memorial Day

“When I was in high school, I thought the greatest thing in the world was to be a soldier. At that time, back in the late 1930s, the government had a program called CMTC, Citizens Military Training Corps. As a high school student, you would go for a month to be trained by the Army. I went to what is now known as Fort Dix, but was then called Camp Dix. I went there for a month. I said to myself, ‘You know what you can do with this Army. I ain’t going out there to lie in that wet grass and march all day in that sand and get sand in my shoes.” When the jobs didn’t work out, I decided to enlist in the Navy rather than risk being drafted into the Army. Things were heating up in Europe and who knew what Hitler would do. You heard the news over the radio, saw it in newsreels at the movies, and read it in the paper.”

-Paul A. Wieser (died 2006)

Paul Wieser 1941 The late Paul Anthony Wieser
Paul A. Wieser

“Well, I looked to military life for a long time before I was old enough to enlist. I tried to lie and enlist. I didn’t make it. They caught me. They could look at me and tell that I was too young. Then along comes the draft of 1941. I was just seventeen and they wouldn’t take me without a guardian’s signature. Finally, I talked my mother into signing the papers to let me go. I told her that I didn’t want any part of the Army. If the draft got me, I wanted to get what I wanted and not what they wanted me to have. I wanted to come into the Navy.…”

-Theron T. Nichols (died 2010)

“I enlisted in the winter of 1941, in January. I had always been interested in the Navy as a boy, and you could feel the trouble over in Europe that we were going to get involved sooner or later. I enlisted with my parents’ consent.”

- Larry Resen (died 2006)

“I was born and raised in a little town in Wisconsin named Kimberly. It was a home base for a paper mill and paper-related products…. I went to the paper mill several times. I would see these slots where people kept their time cards. People who were there for eight- hour shifts, day in and day out, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. I said that is no life for me. I said, ‘There must be a better way’…In November 1936, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy.”

-John P. Van Sambeek (died 2006)

“Well, I lived on a farm in New York State. I went to a one-room country schoolhouse when we first started. Six grades in one room. Later on after a certain age, they bused us to another town seven miles away. That was the high school. After high school, I couldn’t live with my Dad. One day he said, ‘Men join the Navy.’ So I got tired of pulling that cross cut saw and I joined the Navy. This was April of 1941 right after my eighteenth birthday.”

- Henry Okuski (died 2009)

“I’m from Brooklyn. I had just graduated from high school in January of 1941. I was walking downtown on Fulton Street. I saw the sign ‘Join the Navy and see the world.’ This was in the beginning of March before my eighteenth birthday. I went upstairs and talked to the person in charge. He said, ‘How are your eyes? Can you read this?’ I said, ‘Fine.’ He said, ‘Why don’t you go in and see the doctor?’ I went in and saw the doctor. Everything was fine except he said. ‘I see you bite your nails. We can’t take you in because you bit your nails. Here is a pair of gloves. Put them on and come back next week. If your nails are not bitten, we will take you in.’ I guess it (the concern) was nervousness, I don’t know. I went back the following week and they took me in and that is when I enlisted.”

-Edwin L. Calder (died 2006)

I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in December 1922. I first enlisted in the Navy on the 6th of June 1939. I guess the main reason was because I was a young kid who wanted to get out of Arkansas and see the world.

-Charlie Rosell (died 2009)

Many of your friends have already answered your country’s call to service. More will be going. Choose a service that will give you action, thrills, adventure, travel. A service where you will live a rugged, healthy & outdoor life. Many men who have delayed too long in volunteering for the Navy now regret it. Don’t wait until it’s too late. You can choose the Navy right up to the actual moment of your induction.

- Navy Recruiting Bureau, July 1942

Recruiting graphic

WWII Draft Lists – 10 million men were inducted into military service between 1940 and 1946

October 1940:  all men aged 21-36

July 1941:  men who had turned age 21

February 1942:  men aged 20-45

April 1942:  men aged 45-65

June 1942:  men aged 18-20

December 1942 men who had turned 18


Liberty World Wide

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Times Square studio shot0001

Liberty in New York

“Being in New York City was just great at that time. We could ride the subway from Sand Street to Manhattan for about ten cents. We could always get free tickets from the YMCA for the shows in NYC. We saw most of the big bands during that time – Glenn Miller, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and many others. At that time it was a great city to have fun in. Also, we had Coney Island, the amusement park. I have gone on a liberty in that city and had only fifty cents and still had a great time.”

-Leo Bostwick, Machinist’s Mate 2/c

Heading into NYC in 1941

“We had three section liberty and I went home every night as I lived in the Bronx. It was an hour and a half trip by street car, subway, and bus. It cost me twelve cents each way (that was a long time ago). I went out the Sands Street gate. It was a notorious street with lots of bars and ladies of the night. They had names like Hungry Helen and Big Bertha and I was scared to linger long there. I was only seventeen.”

-William Taylor, Boatswain’s Mate 1/c

Diamond Head

Liberty in the South Pacific

“After the Philippines operations concluded for us in early 1945, we proceeded to the Pacific Fleet’s new advanced base in Ulithi Lagoon to prepare for our next operations and to enjoy a bit of R and R on the isle of Mog Mog. The native grass huts and buildings were standing; the natives had been evacuated to nearby islands. The SeaBees had constructed picnic and BBQ facilities and ball fields. We were authorized to send over liberty parties with athletic equipment and two cans of beer per man for an afternoon of sunning, swimming, playing ball, eating and drinking. My first experience with liberty parties as an ensign was to be in charge of 50 sailors with all their gear and beer and get them to the beach, a 45 minute boat ride, supervise their recreation…and get them back to the ship on schedule. I was outnumbered 50 to one.”

-Capt. Tracy Wilder, USN (Ret)

“I remember when I went ashore on that island. The boat would dock at an old rickety pier and you walked through a jungle path to get to the recreation area. The warm beer was delicious.”

-Ron Johnson, Seaman 2/c

Officers Club Ulithi

“We anchored back in Ulithi to refuel and replenish stores. While in Ulithi we would have recreation at our favorite resort, Mog Mog. The island was very small with the highest point above sea level of about six feet. The island was covered with coconut palm trees…and divided so that about three-quarters were for the enlisted personnel and the remainder for the officer’s club. We could strip down to our skivvies and swim in the surf…or just lounge around and relax, which most of us did. Time on the island was about four hours.”

-Bill Fleishman, Fireman 1/c

3 friends in Hawaii

Liberty in Hawaii

In Hawaii, “Liberty was from 09:00 to 18:00, daylight liberty unless you had someone there you knew. Honolulu had lots to offer GIs in the way of USO clubs and places to go there was never a charge. I loved to dance and you could dance at the YMCA and the Breakers. Also there was a theater. It reminded me of home as the ceiling was like a sky with stars twinkling and clouds drifting by. There was Waikiki Beach. I loved to swim and had never seen a beach like this with its clear water and surf. I soon was snorkeling and riding the surf. It was really a paradise. The Royal Hawaiian was a special place. It was reserved for the submarine sailors when they returned from tours. We had lots of pictures taken in Honolulu. They had hula girls you could have your picture taken with.”

-William Taylor, Boatswain’s Mate 1/c

“Most of our liberty was in Honolulu and it consisted of sightseeing and drinking. We tried to date some of the local girls but they didn’t seem too interested in sailors. They liked our money but didn’t want to go dancing with us.”

-Jim Masie, Fire Controlman 2/c

Camp Andrews Hawaii

“Camp Andrews was a rest and relaxation camp established for US Navy enlisted at Oahu. Life at camp was very relaxed. We slept, ate, played games and drank beer. There was no reveille on your three days there or bed check. We slept in tents. All we had to do was cross the road and we were on our own little beach.”

-Charles Paty Jr., Radioman 2/c