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OT: My grandfather

 
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OT: My grandfather - 5/7/2010 7:04:05 PM   
Ubercat

 

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Joined: 12/19/2007
From: Near Allentown, PA
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I just posted this at the wargamer last night and Erik Rutins suggested I post here as well.

My grandfather, who died of lung cancer in 1993, served in the USN during WW2. My grandmother died last year and I inherited a few items which gave me a renewed interest in his service history.

His first ship was a sub chaser, The SC659. I was able to find a picture online.



I asked him about his service many years ago and he mentioned escorting convoys out of the Panama Canal, and having run ins with enemy subs. I don't remember which enemy (I was pretty young at the time), although considering Japans misuse of their sub force, the enemy were probably German. Later, he was transferred to a larger "boat".



That's BB62, the New Jersey. I don't know what his job on the SC was, but by the time he went to the Jersey he was a gunners mate. I used to imagine that he crewed the 16" guns, but I'm doubtful now. I have his graduation certificate from gunnery "A" school, Great Lakes, dated 1943. When the war ended he went home to his wife. Six years later he was recalled for the Korean War and served aboard the New Jersey once again.

I have his 1951 tour book, "Salvo." There are small, grainy pics of all the crew divisions, and repeated examination leads me to believe that he was assigned to 6th division, that handled AA batteries on the port side. I know that he was a GM2 in the Korean conflict, which rank he was given for reenlisting. There was only one man in the pictures that was likely to be him, based on the shape of the face and two chevrons + eagle on his arm patch, so he was probably an AA NCO during Korea. I assume he had the same job in WW2, but there's no way to tell now.

My mother now has a wealth of WW2 era family photos that I'd never seen until recently. Unfortunately many are badly faded. In one, my grandfather(Jack) posed with his brother, a marine. They traded uniforms for the picture and it took me a second to register what was going on. "Why is grandpa looking like a jarhead? and why does Uncle Leon look like he's about to split the seams of some skinny sailor dress blues?"

In another pic, grandpa is hauling a decent sized shark into a boat. It was most likely taken at Pearl Harbor, where he told me he had spent some time. One of his recollections was of swimming in the harbor and being told to get out of the water because barracuda had been spotted in the area. They were more feared than sharks.

The New Jersey is now a museum in Camden, NJ. Last year after my grandmother died, my wife and I took a private, guided tour. I wish we'd done it while she was still alive.


< Message edited by Ubercat -- 5/7/2010 7:19:35 PM >


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"I’m not convinced that faith can move mountains, but I’ve seen what it can do to skyscrapers." -William H. Gascoyne
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RE: OT: My grandfather - 5/7/2010 7:20:38 PM   
Swenslim

 

Posts: 437
Joined: 4/15/2005
From: Odessa, Ukraine
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The heroes must be never forgot!

In two days we will celebrate ther victory over Nazi Germany !

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RE: OT: My grandfather - 5/7/2010 9:34:51 PM   
Durbik


Posts: 275
Joined: 1/20/2008
From: Krakow, Poland
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one day, one day...

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obey the fist!

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RE: OT: My grandfather - 5/7/2010 10:29:17 PM   
redcoat


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Joined: 8/31/2005
From: UK
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Ubercat,

I think your Grandfather’s Submarine Chaser was a wood-hulled, 110-foot SC497 Class boat. If you haven’t seen it already there is an exploded view drawing of a SC497 Class Subchaser on Navsource here. It provides an artists impression of what your Grandfather's boat was like.

Redcoat

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RE: OT: My grandfather - 5/7/2010 11:15:37 PM   
Sredni

 

Posts: 700
Joined: 9/30/2004
From: Canada
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quote:

ORIGINAL: redcoat


Ubercat,

I think your Grandfather’s Submarine Chaser was a wood-hulled, 110-foot SC497 Class boat. If you haven’t seen it already there is an exploded view drawing of a SC497 Class Subchaser on Navsource here. It provides an artists impression of what your Grandfather's boat was like.

Redcoat



3 officers 24 men on that boat in your link. Musta been crowded as hell. 27 people on that tiny boat for however long at a time. I wonder what sort of endurance they had, and if they ran at full compliment most of the time.

edit: haha, shoulda kept reading. 1500 nautical miles at 12 knots.

< Message edited by Sredni -- 5/7/2010 11:29:14 PM >

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RE: OT: My grandfather - 5/8/2010 12:06:08 AM   
redcoat


Posts: 644
Joined: 8/31/2005
From: UK
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Actually Navsource seems to give SC497 Class Subchasers a complement of 28 rather than 27. As does the Patrol Craft Sailor Association website.

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Post #: 6
RE: OT: My grandfather - 5/8/2010 2:39:16 AM   
Ubercat

 

Posts: 90
Joined: 12/19/2007
From: Near Allentown, PA
Status: offline
Thanks for that link. Fascinating reading... I'm keeping a sharp eye out for any reference to 659 as I read.

_____________________________

"I’m not convinced that faith can move mountains, but I’ve seen what it can do to skyscrapers." -William H. Gascoyne

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