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RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon

 
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RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/5/2012 7:52:36 AM   
vettim89


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From: Toledo, Ohio
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23 March 1942, Off the Virginia Capes

The boilers of USS Buck were relit yesterday and today she has steamed out of Chesapeake Bay into the open Atlantic. The intent is to work up her new equipment to make sure it is performing as expected. LT(jg) Greg Cummins is off the port bridge wing awaiting the first salvo from her newly installed K-guns.

“All clear for firing,” Lieutenant Jones' voice comes over the 1MC. “Fire”

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM

“Crap,” Cummins says under his breath.

The after gun on the port side failed to respond to the electric firing order. Greg waits for the explosion from the three successfully fired depth charges to subside before making his way down to the mount. CPO Richards is there talking to EM Evans regarding the misfire.

“I dunno, Chief”, Evans says. “The circuit tested fine yesterday.”

“Well, let's make sure the problem isn't in the fire mechanism first,” Richards says. “ALL CLEAR”

The men all step back a few feet and Richards pulls the lanyard.

BOOM.

The depth charge and attached arbor fly away from the ship in a gentle arc. After a few seconds a second muffled explosion is heard followed by a geyser of water exploding from the sea surface.

“Well, at least that part works, Chief”, Greg says as the water falls.

“That it do, Lieutenant,” the Chief says with a satisfied smile.

“There must be a short somewhere in the firing circuit,” Cummins says.

“Probably best to figure it out back at Norfolk,” LCDR Stephens says having now joined them. “The crew needs practice firing manually any way.
Something like this might come up in the future and they need to know how to handle it.”

The Buck concludes its planned shake down and returns to Norfolk. With the exception of the failed firing circuit, everything is working as it should. The repair of that glitch falls within the scope of normal maintenance. It is neither Greg's job nor responsibility to see it the repair completed. He stops by USS Roe to get an update on the progress on her upgrade then heads to the BOQ. He packs his bag. First thing in the morning he will drive back to DC and see what CPT Lawrence's has to say about his big secret .

< Message edited by vettim89 -- 2/5/2012 7:53:09 AM >


_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 121
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/6/2012 12:09:41 AM   
vettim89


Posts: 3331
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
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24 March 1942, Melbourne, Australia

The train from Perth arrives just after noon. LT DJ Haskins leaves the train station looking for some one who can help him find the Navy yard. He sees an elderly man in the uniform of the Australian navy waving him over.

“G'day, Lieutenant,” the man says pronouncing the rank Leftenant, “and who might you be?”

“Lieutenant Daniel Haskins,USN,” DJ answers almost forgetting to omit the “jg”. “I'm looking for USS Shark. She is laid up for repairs in your Navy Yard”

“LCDR Floyd here,” the man says. “Ah, here you are. They seem to be expecting you. If, you wait right here for a few minutes, Lieutenant, an omnibus should be by to take you down to the Yard.”

DJ looks the man over. He has to be in his late fifties or early sixties at least. It doesn't make sense. A man his age should either be of much higher rank or retired. Floyd must sense Haskin's evaluation of him.

“Ah, you're wondering how a man of my advanced years happens to be in the service of the Royal Australian Navy,” he says. “Truth is I had been retired for more than fifteen years. I served in the Great War on the first Australia. When this war broke out, I offered my services. I knew they'd never put me back on a ship at my age, but was sure I could help out in some small way. So here you find me, playing nursemaid to the comings and goings from Melbourne”

“I'm surprised they accepted your offer,” DJ says. “the US Navy would have gently shown you the door and said thanks but no thanks”

“Just goes to show you the superior leadership in the RAN,” Floyd says. “They have the sense to take advantage of my well earned wisdom and knowledge.”

The Aussie gives DJ a big grin at that last comment. He finds himself liking this man even though he just met him.

“Ah, here's your bus, Lieutenant”, Floyd says. “It'll take you down to the yard straight away and drop you in front of the Yardmaster's Office. They'll be able to direct you to your ship.”

“Its a boat not a ship,” DJ say reflexively. Its a matter of pride in the submarine service.

“How's that?” Floyd says

“The proper term for a submarine is boat not ship”, Haskins says with pride. “Submarines are boats. Ships are targets.”

“Oh, I see,” Floyd smiles. “I had forgotten what an odd lot you submariners can be. My apologies, Lieutenant. I stand corrected, they will help you find your BOAT then.”

“It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Floyd,” DJ says as he boards the bus.

“The pleasure was all mine, Mr. Haskins,” Floyd say as the bus pulls away.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 122
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/6/2012 3:41:07 AM   
vettim89


Posts: 3331
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
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25 March, 1942 Northeast of Suva, Fiji

Lt(jg) Hank Tyler is on his first patrol out of Suva. They had arrived on the 22nd and spent a couple of days getting acclimated. The climate is brutal. While rarely exceeding 85 degrees, the tropical climate is oppressive with high humidity. It has rained every day since they arrived, and, from what Hank had been able to gather from the units who had been here longer, rain could be expected nearly every day. This was surely not going to be a easy environment for man nor machine to operate.

After lifting off from Suva Harbor, Hank turns due north. The center of Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji, rapidly rises to nearly 4000 ft. As it is often shrouded in cloud, the pilots of VP-51 have been warned to avoid overflying that section of the island. After clearing the north coast, Tyler jogs west to enter his assigned search arc. They turn NNW and continue flying that direction for nearly four hours. Two hours into the flight the pass just east of Rotuma the northernmost island in the archipelago.

The tension is high aboard the PBY. No one wants to talk about it but for the first time there actually is a true level of danger on this mission. They are over very unfamiliar waters. Unlike when they were in Hawaii, there is no back up – VP-51 is the only PBY squadron within a thousand miles. If a plane were to encounter mechanical problems or worse be shot down, the only hope for rescue would come from the other planes in the squadron. If there were enemy ships and planes in the area, it is unlikely that help would be sent.

For the first time since the War started Hank feels exposed. He puts the thought to the back of his mind. One of the traits he is thankful he has been granted was the ability to compartmentalize his mind. He is just now beginning to realize the utility of that trait.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 123
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/7/2012 12:02:12 AM   
vettim89


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26 March 1942, Washington, DC

LT(jg) Greg Cummins had arrived back in DC late on Tuesday the 24th. He arrived at his desk at 0655 yesterday hoping to meet with CPT Lawrence first thing. To his great disappointment the Captain was in meetings all day with the CNO. So, once again he sits at his desk tapping a pencil on the desk pad. Was he finally going to get his combat billet? The War was almost five months old now. He knew the work he had been doing was important but his time around USS Buck had only fueled the fire in his gut to get to sea and actually fight this war.

Captain Lawrence arrives at his office promptly at 0700. Greg knows Lawrence sees him at his desk as he enters his office. A parade of officers and enlisted me move in and out of the Captains office as he receives briefings and conducts other important business of the day. Finally at 0750 the Captain pokes his head out the office door and motions for Greg to come in.

“Top notch job, down at Norfolk, Greg,” the Captain says motioning Cummins to a chair.

“Thank you, sir,” he says. “You'll be happy to know that the work is proceeding ahead of schedule on the Roe also.”

“That's good to hear!” Lawrence says. “I'm sorry about the cryptic message I gave you doing our last phone call. I hate to tell you this but I had a combat assignment lined up for you. Unfortunately, circumstances have arisen that require you expertise once again.”

Greg practically deflates visibly in his chair.

“What is it now, sir?” Greg says unable to hide the disappointment.

“Well. CinCPac got word of the updates on the destroyers we have been working on here on the East Coast,” Lawrence says. “This is pretty sensitive information I am about to share with you; so, it cannot go beyond this room.”

“Aye, sir”, Greg answers with his interest a little peaked.

“He has ordered two carrier groups back to the West Coast,” Lawrence continues. “They will arrive in approximately ten days. Due to other work being done at San Diego, they are being sent to Alameda and Mare Island. The yard workers up there have not yet done any of the upgrade work as of yet. I need you to go out there and light the fires out there the way you did at Norfolk.”

“You keep sending me on jobs like this sir, and I might start to get a bad reputation,” Cummins says.

“Well, if it is the reputation you earned down at Norfolk, that's fine by me”, the Captain says.

“When do I leave?” Greg asks.

“This morning,” Lawrence says bluntly. “With all the war traffic, the railroads are tied up. It will take a week or more for you to make it across the country.”

“Today?” Greg blurts. “I better get going then.”

“Yes, you better”, the Captain agrees, “but there is some paperwork I need you to fill out before you go.”

Greg inwardly groans. He wonders how many trees are used up daily just to meet the Navy's need for paper. The Captain reaches into his desk and pulls out a single sheet of paper.

“I am sure you know the Navy is not releasing any officers from duty even if their tours are up,” Lawrence says. “Still, I took the liberty of filling this out for you knowing how you feel.”

The Captain slide the piece of paper across the desk. It is a reenlistment form.

“You guessed correctly, Sir,” Greg says.

He picks up a pen and signs the form on the appropriate place. He needs no prodding on this issue. There is no way he is getting out of the Navy now. He slides the form back to Captain Lawrence. The Captain motions to some one outside his door.

“Being as time is of the essence, we will have to dispense with some of the formalities,” he says. “Stand please, Lieutenant.”

A scene repeats itself as the rest of the officers in the DD team squeeze into the Captains office.

“By order of the Secretary of the Navy and by approval of the US Senate, you are hereby promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the US Navy,” Lawrence intones. Being located in the Nation's Capitol, Greg's promotion is official.

Salutes and hand shakes are extended before Greg has to leave. He practically sprints to the BOQ to grab his sea bag. He makes the train with only five minutes to spare.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 124
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/7/2012 12:06:15 AM   
vettim89


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From: Toledo, Ohio
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27 March 1942, Marquesas Islands

Enterprise has refueled and is about to turn north towards the San Francisco Bay. With the destination being a West Coast port, LCDR Gallaher has requested and received permission to expand some of the carriers live ordnance on some training runs. For some of the younger pilots in the squadron it is the first time there will have ever dropped a live bomb. At this point, they have flown enough search missions with 500 lb bombs slung beneath their SBDs that they at least know how the bird feels with the added weight and drag. Gallaher wants to take the opportunity to have the squadron fly with the big 1000 lbers as that will be the primary ordnance used against enemy combat ships when the time comes.

Even LT(jg) James West is not used to handling a Dauntless with such a heavy load. Despite the fact that he has nearly three years “in type”, peacetime training has rarely allowed for the use of the big bombs. The Commander lines the planes up on Enterprise's deck with the most experienced pilots in front and the least in the rear. It may only be a extra few dozen yards of deck run, but the “nuggets” need all the advantages he can give them. The squadron takes off in rapid succession. West is the fourth man off and is shocked by how heavy the bird feels with the added weight. He slowly climbs as the rest of the planes take off and join up. He breaths a sigh of relief as ENS Stone easily gets the SBD airborne.

The squadron slowly climbs to 14,000 feet as they head south. Their target is an islet called Mota Nao which is little more than a rocky outcropping in the ocean. Gallaher makes his run first keeping the mic open through the entire dive telling the other pilots what he is doing and why. He drops his bomb then pulls up to take a position just to the east of the target. West is again the fourth man down. He tips the SBD over less than a half mile from the target and pushes the plane into a near vertical dive. He is amazed at quickly the speed builds with the big bomb on board. He deploys the dive breaks before the plane passes 200 kts and leans into the sight. The little islet is quickly growing larger in the reticle. He roars through 10,000 feet with his vertical speed now approaching 500 feet per second. Now comes the tricky part: timing the release and pull out while leaving enough room for recovery from the dive. He pulls the bomb release and the plane jerks upwards free from the weight and drag. James pulls back hard on the stick fighting the plane's seeming insatiable desire to impale itself on the rocks below. The plane levels just a few hundred feet from the sea surface.

“Goddamn, Lieutenant,” James' gunner calls out, “you on a suicide mission or something?”

“Did you see the bomb hit?” James says ignoring Williams complaint.

“Hell yes it hit, you practically drove the thing into the island and us with it,” he answers.

“Well that's all that matters than isn't it?” James asks.

“If you say so Lieutenant,” the exasperated gunner replies, “but you ain't experiencing the ride from my vantage point.”

“Trust me, Williams,” James says, “it would scare you even more if you saw it from mine.”

The rest of the squadron make their runs. ENS Stone does surprsingly well on the glide slope but pulls out way too early. Most of the “nuggets” make the same mistake. It is normal for young pilots to not press home their attacks as far as they can. Only experience will get them to the point where they can drop at or below 3000 feet. Still, Gallher is happy with the results for the most part. He can accept the pilots releasing a little early but glide slop is non-negotiable. The SBDs will be too easy of a target if they don't come down at the proper angle.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 125
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/7/2012 2:55:44 AM   
vettim89


Posts: 3331
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From: Toledo, Ohio
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28 March 1942, Melbourne, Australia

CPT Reynolds had understated the amount of damage USS Shark had sustained. Her hull is slightly deformed and her deck is a mess. It will take nearly three weeks to patch her up. The only good news is that her extended down time will allow for the installation of a new air search RADAR. LT DJ Haskins can testify to the need for such equipment on a submarine.

DJ is trying to get a feel for the officers and crew of the boat. Her skipper, LCDR Shane is a very likeable man but seems a bit too friendly with the crew to DJ's taste. His first expereince with that facet of Shane's personality was on the night he arrived. Knowing that Haskins had just been promoted, the Skipper surmised that he had not been properly “wetted down”. He and the rest of the officers had gathered at a local pub that evening for the ceromony. Normally conducted by a man's friends, it was a bit awkward considering DJ had only known his fellow officers for twelve hours before the event. As was the tradition, DJ found himself thrown into the Yarra River at the conclusion of the ceremony. That part did not suprise him, but the fact that LCDR Shane was the ringleader did. LCDR Smith would never allow that sort of break down among the ranks.

The sub's navigator is a young Ensign named Hope. As far as DJ could tell he is a competant officer even if he seems a bit unsure of himself. The boat's Engineering Officer is LT(jg) Moss. DJ could tell he was top notch form the moment he met him. He has a good feel for the mechanics of the boat and is very active in overseeing her repairs and upgrade. The boat's Weapons Officer is another Ensign named Beasley. He has almost a full year's longer service than Hope and it shows. While DJ could not evaluate his command skills on the beach, he at least carries himself with confidence. What was a shock to DJ was that he was the only Academy grad on the boat. The rest of the officers are all reservists. He found out the man he releived was also a USNA gradute and could tell there was at least some tension in his relationship with the other officers. Just the way they spoke his name belies that fact.

No matter. DJ didn't come here to make friends. He came here to fight a war.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 126
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/8/2012 5:42:33 AM   
vettim89


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From: Toledo, Ohio
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29 March 1942, Suva, Fiji

The hardest part of being stationed in Fiji was getting used to the climate. The air is so thick with humidity that sometimes a man feels like he has to reach out his arms before him to part it in order to move. Sweat fails to evaporate and hangs on the men creating a constant feeling of dampness. Oh, and it rains every day. Not almost every day or most days but EVERY DAY! They had all thought the men who told them of the fact when they arrived were pulling their legs. After nearly a week at the base, they now knew it was true. While not oppressively hot, temperatures rise into the eighties every day and seldom dip below seventy at night. The only relief they get is from the cool sea breezes that come at night.

LT(jg) Hank Tyler is doing his best to settle in at the base. For now , the men of VP-51 are stuck in tents for accomations. Navy engineers are busy building and rumor is that they would eventually get more permanent accomadations. One thing “Doc” Moore, the flight surgeon, has insisted on is that the men all take their quinine tablets every day. Malaria is a real threat in this mesquito infested palce and the doc threatens to ground permanently any man that acquires the disease. The reason the man is so insitent is that rumor around that the pills make a man sterile. Doc not only points out that that information is bunk but threatens to sterilize them himself with a kick in the balls if he finds out they aren't taking the pills. Doc is a big man standing over 6'2”. Needless to say the men of VP-51 are all taking their pills.

The base is really taking shape with a mishmash of Army ande Navy units all working on expanding the runways, cargo handling facilities, and accomadations. There is an entire Army Division, the 40th, based here. In addition, there are a bunch of artillery units here some of which had been on their way to the Phillipines when the war started. They were diverted here and for almost three months were the sole US troops deployed to the South Pacific. There is even a tank battalion based here though Hank was unsure what good they would be in the jungle. All these men are packed into a few square miles surrounding Suva Harbor. For the most part they keep to themselves but there is a healthy presence of MP and SP to keep any interservice rivalry from getting out of hand.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 127
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/8/2012 5:43:55 AM   
vettim89


Posts: 3331
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30 March 1942, South Pacific

The routine has changed. As Enterprise has cruised north it has moved far away from any enemy surface or air threat. Submarines are a different story. The Japanese have done a pretty good job divining the USN's convoy routes to and from the West Coast. Several merchant ships have been sunk. Scuttlebutt has it that Lexington off to The Big E's northwest has had several close calls with the enemy's subs. So the men of VS-6 and VB-6 are no longer patroling out to beyond 200 NM from the carrier. Instead they are all pulled in to around 80 NM in constant vigilence for underwater predators of the Japanese variety.

LT(jg) James West is patroling southeast of the Task Force right now. This is the search area where they least expect an I-Boat to pop up but he is vigilant just they same. ENS Stone is on his right wing as they patrol a long race track shaped pattern. James has got to admit the kid has come a long way. He performed very well in the dive bombing practice a few days ago. Stone recognized he had pulled out of his dive too early before any one else could bring it up. He talked at length to James about judging the release point correctly. He wasn't cocky but he was finally showing some confidence.

ENS Jaccard also was developing well. While he never had Stone's lack of confidence, he was an adeqaute pilot at best. West had noticed he was a pretty “heavy stick” maneuvering his plane is sudden, sharp movements instead of smooth, easy movements that an experienced pilot would show. He was getting better though, and that was all that was important for now. Both he and Stone were now almost to the point where there weren't “nuggets” any more. Being the most junior pilots in the squadron unfortunately meant they were stuck with the title until some fresh pilots were assigned. That didn't look like it was going tot happen soon with the ship heading back to port. Still, they were gaining respect in the ranks of VS-6 and the term was now used more affectionately than derisively.

LT(jg) Carey was another story. One could say that the newer pilots were now as good if not better than him. James had seen it before. A pilot comes out of Advanced Flight and just never quite transitions to combat operations. The tempo becomes too quick and their reflexes lag behind the curve. In peace time, these men would likely not last past their first tour. Now in war, pilots were at a premium. Even a half capable pilot was better than none at all. James does worry about Carey when they actually hit combat. He hopes he is wrong but fears the man man not prove up to it. Even though technically he is James' equal, even Carey would admit West was the superior pilot. Hopefully he will be able to watch out for Carey if the opportunity does arise. After all, what would the Supreme War Council meetings be like without the lead “Bob”.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 128
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/8/2012 6:07:15 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3331
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31 March 1942,San Diego, CA

The 6th Marines were almost all now gathered at Camp Elliot here on the West Coast. 1stLT Brett Castlebury has called the platoon to muster. MSGT Wilson is calling off the role. Only two men are missing. Brett doubts the men “went over the hill”. No, it is far more likely they miscalculated their travel time to get to San Diego in time. Technically they had until midnight tonight to make it to the base. They problem is that the entire West Coast has a curfew in force at sun down. That means the men had until 1908 to get their Marine asses through the gates of the camp. He had discussed it with Wilson earlier in the day.

Quite frankly, they are both a little surprised it is only two men. They both had expected at least a half dozen to not make it in time. He told the Sergent that the men could not go unpunished if they failed to report, but that he should scale the punishment to the number of hours the man was late. They would be given three minutes of extra PT for every hour they were late. With the curfew in effect, this still meant a man who arrived just after sun up on 1 April was going to get 36 minutes. He and Wilson also agreed that the intensity should increase with each minute of the training.

“I'd hate to be the SOB that was more than a day late,” Brett thought to himself.

As good as the time at home was, Castlebury is glad to be back with the unit. He loves his family but has come to think of the Marines as his true home. He thinks that it probably has something to do with the fact that he had no brothers growing up. These men are his brothers. No time in his life, even his time at the Academy, has he felt the unity of purpose and bond of comradeship that he feels here with these men.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 129
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/8/2012 6:08:54 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3331
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From: Toledo, Ohio
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1 April 1942, Melbourne, Australia

LT DJ Haskins is making his way toward the front gate of the shipyard at the end of another work day. The yard workers have been doing most of the work on Shark up to this point. The crew of the boat has ocupied itself with light maintenance and other nonessential tasks to keep busy. The work days are short though as the Yard Master, a man named Higgins, is a irritable man with a loud booming voice. He has threatened the crew with physical violence on more than one occasion if they “don't get their Yankee arses out of his men's way.” DJ doesn't think the man would let it come to blows, but he isn't sure. LCDR Shane has been giving the crew lots of evening liberty as a result. For the most part, the men have been well behaved and gracious guests of their Australian hosts.

“Leftenant, Haskins,” a voce calls out.

DJ turns to see LCDR Floyd trotting from the Yard Master's office. The old man still has a spring in his step.

“Do you have any dinner plans, mate?” Floyd asks him

“I was just going to grab something to eat on the way back to my hotel,” Haskins says. “Why do you ask?”

“Well I told “The Mrs.” about our encounter at the station,” he says. “She some how got the impression that you were a good lad, and told me to ask you for dinner. And I always do what “The Mrs.” says, if you know what I mean? Some how about it, you up for some home cooked food?”

“The offer is kind of you,” DJ says, “but I really hate to intrude.”

“How is accepting an invitation intruding?” Floyd asks. “Here in Australia it is considered proper manners to accept an invitation to dinner if you have no other plans. Do they not teach you Yanks that in school?”

“Yes they do,” DJ replies feeling cornered. “I guess you leave me no choice, Commander”

“We are off duty now, Lieutenant,” Floyd says. “The name's Artie.”

“Well, Artie,” Haskins says. “My friends all call me DJ, and if I am going to your home for dinner, I think that qualifies you as a friend.”

“DJ?” Artie says. “Are those initials?”

“No, sir,” he answers. “It stands for Daniel, Jr. I share my father's name. To avoid confusion in my home growing up, my father was Daniel and I was DJ.”

They board a tram that takes them to within a few blocks of Artie's home. On the way, Floyd asks DJ about his father. DJ relates how his father had passed and the extraordinary circumstances that led to him getting into the USNA. Artie tells of how his only son is away in North Africa fighting with the 8th Army. His son is just two years older than Haskins and Artie explains that is probably why “The Mrs.” had encouraged Artie to invite Dj to dinner. The walk the final two blocks to the home. It is a modest home overlooking the bay. It may not be large but it is immaculately kept. Mrs. Floyd is a delightful lady who welcomes DJ like a long lost relative.

The dinner is broiled Ocean Trout and prawns. Mr. Floyd attends to the grill which he calls “the barbie” while Mrs. Floyd prepares the side dishes in the kitchen. The eat dinner on patio overlooking the waters below. Artie introduce DJ to Victoria Bitters which he is told is the most popular local beer. The scene is near idyllic. By the time the evening is over, DJ feels like the Floyds are indeed his long lost relatives.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 130
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/9/2012 5:31:17 AM   
vettim89


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2 April 1942, Treasure Island Navy Base, CA

LT Greg Cummins arrives by motor launch at the base. He arrived at the San Franciso train station a few hours ago and made his way done to the Navy pier. There was quite a line of sailors and officers at the dock; so, Greg had to wait his turn. He was able to board the fourth launch and now was back on dry land.

The trip across the country had not been too awful. He went from Washington to St. Louis first. That part of the trip had taken less than two days. He had to put up for a night in St. Louis as there were no available seats until late the next day. The trip across the West had taken almost four days. Greg didn't mind the journey at all. He had never traveled to this part of the country and enjoyed seeing the Rockies for the first time. They ran into a snow storm crossing the continental divide that slowed the passage down quite a bit. The crewmen of the train seemed unconcerned; so, Greg took the same attitude.

He now makes his way to the BurShips office here at the base. He presents his orders to the PO manning the desk at the building's entrance.

“Have a seat over there, Lieutenant,” the man says pointing at some chairs along the wall. “The Captain will be ready to see you in a few minutes.”

Greg takes a seat. His body is still stiff from the trip, and he stretches his legs a bit. He looks down at his jacket admiring his sewing job. The last thing he did before leaving DC was to stop at the PX to buy some new stripes. The long trip gave him ample opportunity to complete the sewing job. It wasn't seamtress quality but it looked passable. The only thing that bothered him was that the new strip was much brighter than the other two. Even a mildly observant man would be able to figure out that his promotion was still quite recent. Only wear and time would change that fact.

“Lieutenant, the Captain will see you now”, the PO says

Greg stands and walks to the room the PO had indicated. He opens the door and sees a familair face. It is now Captain Strothers who was commander of Desron 6 when Greg was on the Warington. The two men exchange salutes, and the Captain motions Greg to a chair.

“Good to see you again, Greg,” Strothers begins. “I've heard good things about your work at the Yard. I knew you were the right man for the job after your input on the Fletcher project.”

“Thank you, Sir,” he says. “I fear you may have sentenced me to a life at a desk.”

“You sound like every Junior Officer I have on staff here,” the captain says. “Everybody is aching for a combat billet. I hope you know that this work is important even if it isn't exciting.”

“You sound just like Captain Lawrence,” Greg says. “They have some class you have to take at the War College for that?”

“No, afraid not,” Strothers laughs. “Let's just say that with age comes wisdom. Wisdom dictates that for every man on the front lines, there are ten men in the rear making sure he has the tools to win the battle.”

“I know that is true,” Cummins says, “but I can't help those jobs would be better filled by Reserve Officers. Those of us who graduated from the Academy have the superior training and qualifications to be the ones leading the battle.”

“Well I will not argue your point, I will only counter that there are too few Annapolis grads to go around.” Strothers says. “I defy you to find me a Reserve Officer with your mind for Naval Architecture.”

Once again, Greg finds himself trapped by his own abilities. He knows it is a moot point and decides to cede the argument to Strothers – at least for now.

“You know I can't,” he says. “Why don't we get to the matter at hand. When are the destroyers due in?”

“They should be here by the end of the week although I don't know exactly,” Strothers says. “CinCPac has ordered complete radio silence. He doesn't wat to tip off the Japanese that two of our carriers are no longer in teh South Pacific.”

“You know what is coming?” Greg asks. “Destroyerwise I mean.”

“Four Mahan, two Porter, two Fanning, and four Gridley,” the Captain answers.

Now Greg knows why Captain Lawrence wanted him out here. It was hard enough at Norfolk when they were working on just one class. Four classes all at once! Greg had the sudden desire to find his blueprints. He was thankful at least that he would have a few days to prepare.

“Where is the work being done?” he asks.

“They will be split,” Strothers answers. “Nine at Alameda and five at Mare Island.”

“Oh this is just getting better all the time,” Greg thought to himself. “First four separate classes, and now they are going to be split at two navy yards that are fifty miles apart. Not just fifty miles but fifty miles of the San Francisco Bay. Whats the drive time between the two bases? Four hours?”

“Here's the list of which ships are going where,” Strothers says noticing Greg's consternation. “You should have time to meet with the Yard Masters at both yards before the get here. I know its a lot to handle, Greg, but look at it this way. If it was easy, they would n't need the best. And from what I hear, you're the best”

“Thank you for your vote of confidence, Sir,” Greg says as he stands. “I better get to work on this right away.”

“Good idea, “ Strothers says. “Nice to see you again.”

“And you also, Sir,” Greg says saluting.

He heads out the door with purpose in his steps. The PO assigns him a desk and he gets straight to work.

“No rest for the wicked, eh Cummins,” he says to himself as he sits down and pulls out the first blueprint.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 131
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/9/2012 11:20:38 PM   
vettim89


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3 April 1942, Camp Elliot, CA

Today is an organizational day for the 6th Marines. This was a necessity because the Regiment was being raided by the Corps. Third Marine Division is in the process of being organized. There was a need for experienced officers and NCOs to form a cadre to build the new Division around. With the rest of the 2nd Marine Division already forward deployed, this meant that the 6th Marines were giving up more than there fair share. The batalion's S-1, CPT Collins, assures every one that the 1st Marine Division is also being similarly raided. With all the departures, the entire officer structure of the 6th Marines is being reshuffled.

1stLT Brett Castlebury sits in the small anteroom outside the Battalion Commander's office. He is one of more than a dozen officers that are gathered here at the moment. It doesn't take a graduate degree in military science to figure out they are all about to be reassigned. Brett realizes this means he likely will be leaving 3rd Platoon. He can't say the thought of leaving the men he had lead for over a year sits well with him, but at the same time, it is foolish to think this day was not an eventuality. Things change as sure as the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning.

“Lieutenant Castlebury,” CPT Collins calls, “we're ready for you now.”

Brett steps into the CO's office. Colonel Simpson, the CO, is there with MAJ Welch the BTN XO and Collins. After exchanging salutes, they all sit

“Well, Castlebury, I am sure you have guessed by now that we are going to have move some people around to fill the holes left by the transfers,” Simpson begins.

“Yes, Sir,” Brett says. “Its not hard to figure out that those billets that were vacted have to be filled.”

“Right,” the Colonel continues, “you are going to be the new Company commander of Golf COY, 2nd BTN. I hope you understand that when an officer is promoted, it is best to move him out of the unit he is currently assigned. We have found that sometimes tensions can arise when men are subordinate to a man that was formerly their peer. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir,” Brett answers just now digesting fully what Simpson was saying. “I can see the problems that could come up.”

“Good,” Simpson says. “Report to CPT Eschenburg immediately. He will go over the details of the transfer of command.”

“If I may ask, sir,” Brett says. “Who is taking over 3rd Platoon?”

“2ndLT Harris,” Collins answers. “He's a USNA grad fresh out of Quantico.”

Castlebury grimaces at the thought of leaving his men to a freshly minted 2nd Lieuey. Then again, he did fine when he was still wet behind the ears. MSGT Wilson will train him up.

“Once last thing before you go, Castlebury”, Major Welch speaks for the first time. “Stand at attention, Lieutenant. By order of the Secretary of the Navy, 1st Lieutenant Brett Castlebury, USMC, is hereby promoted to the temporary rank of Captain. Promotion to be made permanent pending approval of the United States Senate.”

Welch steps forward and replaces the single silver bar insignia with the double silver bar.

“Congratulations, Captain,” Welch says

“Thank you, Sir,” Brett says while saluting smartly.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 132
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/9/2012 11:26:28 PM   
vettim89


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The following post is DavePac88 tested, DivePac88 approved

4 April 1942, Suva, Fiji

LT(jg) Hank Tyler is heading up a path into the foothills surrounding the mountainous center of Vita Levu. Hank had talked to one of the pilots from the RNAF Hudson squadron stationed at Suva yesterday. He had told him the lay of the land and insisted that a trip up into the hills to see a cetain waterfall was worth his time. He also noted that the temperatures fell fairly rapidly with elevation making the trip a pleasant relief from sultry climate of the port. Being as he was not assigned to fly today, Hank and ENS Page were now making their way up to see the falls.

The trail snakes along the small river that flows down out of the mountains. Even though the hike is strenous going uphill, both men are pleased to discover that the Kiwi pilot was right as the temperature is already noticably cooler. They round a sharp turn in the trail and both men come to a stop. There is motionless body lying on the ground not 30 feet in front of them.

“What the hell?,” Page say quietly. “Is he dead?”

At first Hank thinks the man may be, but then he notices his chest rising and falling with each breath.

“No,” he says. “He's alive. I can see him breathing.”

The two men slowly approach the body. They can tell it is a caucasian as they get closer. Hank looks around in all directions to make sure there is no sign of an ambush. It is possible this man was attacked, and whoever did the deed is still nearby. He motions for Page to pull his side arm as he bends over the man. The man moans softly as Tyler rolls him over onto his back. He has a large bump on his forehead with a nastly gash over it. The man opens his eyes and blinks trying to get them to focus.

“What the bloody hell?” the man says with a moan.

“We thought you were dead,” Hank says.

“Not yet,” the man says as Hank helps him to sit up.

“Here, drink a little,” Tyler says offering him his cantine.

“Thank you,” the man says as he slowly gathers his senses. “And who might you be?”

“I'm Hank Tyler and this is Mike Page,” he answers. “We're pilots with VP-51 based down in Suva.”

“Yanks?,” the man says. “The name's Wallace, Des Wallace. I am a Colonial from New Zealand.”

“Well, Mr. Wallace, do you have any idea what happened to you?”

“Hmmm..... it must have been that crazy cobber, Basil,” Des answers. “I knew I should never have trusted a Nigerian. He must have conked me on my head and robbed me. The boy was plumb crazy I tell you. He kept trying to convice me he was some sort of Prince or something. He kept begging me for money saying he could get me a ten fold return on my investment. Some sort of mix up with the local authorities was preventing him from getting at his family's fortune. I never gave him a cent. Like I said, he's plumb crazy”

“It appears he must have decided to take the matter into his own hands,” Hank says.

“Well, the joke's on him becasue all I had on me was a couple of pounds,” Wallace says as he pulls himself up.

“Can you walk, sir?” Tyler asks.

“I believe so and I would appreciate it if you would call me Des,” he says.

“Ok, Des, let's get you back to town,” Hank says.

Tyler and Page take turns helping the man down the hill. Its not an easy process as the trail is barely wide enough in most places for one man to pass. It takes the better part of two hours before they reach the edge of Suva. A local constable sees the two pilots carrying Wallace and recognizes him. He calls for help and soon a small flatbed truck pulls up to carry the wounded man to a doctor. Hank and Page ride along feeling some responsibility for Wallace's safe keeping. To their surpise they do not go to the local hospital. The arrive a crude but well built local tavarn called “The Thread”.

“Are you sure you don't want us to take you to a hospital?” Hank asks.


“Nah, all my mates are waiting in there for me,” Wallace answers. “The doctor knows where to find me as I'm here most days.”
The lead the man through the front door and the room erupts with cheers.

“Des, we thought you were dead,” comes an unidentified voice

“Yeah, that crazy Basil said you just dropped dead out in the jungle,” a different voice rang out.

“That's what you get for thrusting crazy Nigerians,” yet a third voice said.

It seemed Mr. Wallace was in good hands; so Tyler and Page make thier way back to the squadron area before curfew sets in. Tyler finds out that later that night Wallace's friends hunt down this Basil character, recover Des's two pounds, and turn him over to the local constabulry. Hank has no idea what Fijian justice is like but he suspects it is much harsher than what a man could expect in the States for a similar crime. Not his fight, he's just glad the old man seems okay.

“Serves him right,” Tyler thought. “Des seems like a fine gentleman. The man should be ashamed for preying on an elderly man like that”

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 133
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/10/2012 5:02:16 AM   
vettim89


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5 April 1942, San Francisco, CA

The huge carrier USS Lexington can just be seen as she moves beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Even the ship's huge island and flight deck are dwarfed by the span. He air groups had already made shore and were all now over at the Alameda NAS. The ships turned northwards after entering the bay and headed for Mare Island Naval Yard. By morning they would all be tucked away at births at the Yard, A few needed some prop or engine work necessitating they be put into dry dock.

While the Lex certainly was a beautiful ship, LT Greg Cummins interest lies in the five destroyers that were her consorts. There are all placed in a different part of the yard in a neat row. This is to Greg's liking as it make his job easier. Being as it was rapidly approaching curfew, Cummins decides to meet with the ship's captains and yard supervisors first thing in the morning. He was just happy that they had all made port safe and sound.

The real work would begin in the morning.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 134
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/10/2012 6:04:59 PM   
vettim89


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6 April 1942, Melbourne, Australia

USS Shark's hull repairs are nearly complete. They will refloat the sub most likely tomorrow. Assuming there are no major leaks, she will moved to a nearby pier for installation of the RADAR and other repairs. LT DJ Haskins is anxious to finally get aboard the boat. The Melbourne yard master was only allowing small working parties aboard the sub at any one time. Seems the man doesn't trust the US sailors to not do something stupid and accidently knock the Shark off her blocks. DJ thinks the sub appears to be well secured and the chances of that happening are about nil. He does admit to himself that having the sub fall into the drydock would be catastrophic. Perhaps the Aussie is correct in just avoiding the risk.

DJ is standing next to the dry dock watching the work as it nears it's completion with LT(jg) OJ Moss. The Lieutenant is a portly man. In fact he is big enough that Haskins wonders how he passed the physical requirements to be in the Navy.

“Where you from, Moss?” DJ asks.

“Chicago, Sir,” he answers. “entered the Navy through ROTC at the University of Illinois.”

“How long you been in?” DJ continues.

“Three years next month,” Moss says, “to tell you the truth, I never even considered the possibility I would end up in a shooting war when I signed up. I just needed a way to help pay for college.”

“And now here you are, enjoying an Australian vacation on Uncle Sam's dime”, DJ says.
Moss laughs.

“Well, that's one way to look at it, Lieutenant,” OJ says

“What was your major?” Haskins asks

“Mechanical Engineering, finished third in my class,” Moss says proudly.

“Ah, that explains a lot,” DJ says. “You really seem to know your way around the engine compartment.”

“Yeah, got lucky with that assignment,” Moss says, “I'd die if I had to navigate the boat. We'd prolly end up sailing into Tokyo Bay if they put me in charge.”

“I can help you with that,” DJ says. “Its sort of my specialty. “

“I'm not sure I'm salvagable, but I'd appreciate all the help I can get,” OJ says

“If you don't mind me asking,” DJ says, “whats does OJ stand for?”

“Ovid James,” Moss answers.

“Ovid? Really?” Haskins laughs

“Its a family name,” Moss also laughs. “I named after my grandfather on my mother's side”

“Well, at least one person is happy about the name,” DJ says as the men turn back to watching the yard workers finish up on Shark.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 135
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/11/2012 7:15:34 PM   
vettim89


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7 April 1942, near San Francisco, CA

VS-6 is launching just after dawn along with VB-6. The Devastators of VT-6 will stay with the ship performing ASW patrol until she is safely inside the bay. Today, the SBDs are ordinance free as they are heading inland to Alameda Naval Air Station. Enterprise will follow in about a day and a half. There is a lot of work that needs to be done on her. New AA weapons and new RADARS will be added. The ship will also undergo routine maintainence while she is stood down for the upgrade.

The trip is an uneventful one hour hop sliding just south of San Francisco proper and then into Alameda on the southeast side of the bay. They all land in quick succession dispersing to the assigned parking areas afterward. The men of VS-6 are all gathering in front of their planes waiting for a ride when a single car pulls up with Navy markings. LCDR Gallaher goes over and talks to one of the men in the car for a few minutes then comes back to the waiting group of pilots.

“Make sure any personal belonging are out of your planes, gentlemen,” Gallaher says, “because these planes are no longer ours.”

Then men all look at the Commander like he's lost his mind. How is the squadron going to be able to operate if they are giving up their planes?

“Now, settle down,” he says. “The reason they are not ours anymore is because I have just been informed that there are eighteen brand new -3 models waiting for us on the other side of the base.”

The men all breath a collective sigh of relief. Two trucks show up just a few minutes later and take them over to their new aircraft. The SBD-3 is a marked improvement over the -2 version. It has a bulletproof windscreen, self-sealing gas tanks, a better engine, and two vice one 0.30 Cal MG for the rear gunners. The men were fond of the SBD-2 but this version was much more capable of surviving combat and bringing them home.

The men almost forget about liberty – almost. It is too late in they day to release them by the time they are settled into quarters. Right after breakfast tomorrow morning, they will all be given three day passes.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 136
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/11/2012 7:16:44 PM   
vettim89


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8 April 1942, Camp Elliot, CA

CPT Brett Castlebury is finding that the duties of a Company Commander are much differnt than those of a Platoon Commander. As Platoon Commander he was a leader of men. Now as Company Commander he finds himself more as the leader of the men who lead the men. The transition is going well ,but it still feels awkward to him. He is sure in time that it will be second nature, but right now he feels like a fish out of water. His most important task for now is getting a feel for what the officers in his command are like. So far, he likes what he sees.

The six men are sitting together at a table in the Mess Hall at lunch. Brett looks over each man as they sit and talk and begins to make mental notes about them.

Two of the Company's four Platoons are led by brand spanking new 2nd Lieutenants: Hodge and Reese. Both men are raw to say the least but seem eager to learn. It is too early to tell how good of an officer they will make but at least they are listening to they more senior officers.

“Gawd,” Castlebury thinks to himself, “was I ever that young?”

The 1st Platoon is led by 1st Lieutenant Woods. He has been in the Corps for two years and has received excellant marks on all his reviews. Brett reserves final judgement, but for now he feels like the Platoon is in good hands. The Weapons Platoon is led by 1st Lieutenant Henderson. He file is not quite as glowing as Woods' but he doesn't appear to have any glaring deficits. The previous Company Commander seemed to feel that he possesses superior organizational skills which is why he was put in charge of the Weapons Platoon. That command required a little more attention to supply and other logistics issues.

That just leaves his XO, 1st Lieutenant Broadway. He has come over from commanding 3rd platoon Echo Coy. Like Brett, he is a USNA gradute and seems to be a superior officer in most ways. Castlebury has taken an instant liking to this man. He knows he will have to lean on him to get the job done when they finally face combat.

The men sit and eat their lunch. Nothing of import is discussed but they seem to be meshing well at this point. None of them realize that every word and action is being analyzed by their new CO. To them it is just another day in the USMC.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 137
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/11/2012 7:18:39 PM   
vettim89


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9 April 1942, Suva, Fiji

LT(jg) Hank Tyler sits on his bunk trying to compose a letter to Emily Stebbins.

Dear Emily,

I cannot tell you where I am right now but will say it is very hot and humid here. It reminds me of Florida but worse. It rains every day here. It doesn't do it for very long, but it only makes it that much more humid. Still, our spirits remain high, and we feel safe here. I say that so you won't worry about my well being.

I think of you all the time. I remain focused on my duties but often find my thoughts drifting to you. My biggest frustration is not knowing when I will see you again................


Hank crumples the paper and tosses it aside. This is his third attempt at the letter. He just doesn't know how to put into words how he feels. He had dated dozens of women over the years. He had always prided himself in being able to slip through the snares these women had set for him. Now, here he was just another love struck dope trying to make the words come out right.

“Why is this so hard?” he says to himself.

He pulls out another piece of paper and starts again.

Dear Emily,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am safe and sound at my new base.......


“AIEEEEEEEEE”, he screams and crumples the paper again.

He stands and walks out of the tent. He needs some fresh air to clear his mind. He doesn't get more than 30 yards before the skies open. He runs back to the tent and sits back doww on his bunk.

“I guess somebody wants me to finsh this letter,” he says to no one in particular.

Dear Emily...........

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 138
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/11/2012 10:02:19 PM   
vettim89


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10 April 1942, San Francisco Bay, CA

LT Greg Cummins has made a delightful discovery. VR-2 is assigned to Alameda NAS. The squadron currently only has two R4Ds assigned to it at the moment and they are being used for courier duty. One of them has a daily run from Alameda to Mare Island. Greg has been riding along every time he needs to switch bases which is nearly every day. He has fourteen destroyers to shepherd through their upgrades and the time saved by flying vice taking a boat or worse yet driving is invaluable. While he would love the chance to take a ride across the Golden Gate, he just doesn't have the time.

Not surprisingly, he has run across quite a few officers who were at the Academy while Greg was there. He knows those that are his classmates the best but also reconizes many who either graduated before or after him. The men are scattered across the wide variety of ships now moored around the Bay. In truth, no one has time for more than a brief greeting and a few words. Greg is not the only man who has pressing duties on his mind. Unlike when he was in DC, he does not spend too much time dwelling on not being assigned to a combat ship. He has far to much on his plate right now for those thoughts.

The R4D touches down at Mare Island. Greg grabs his sea bag and walks to a waiting car. Being the official BurShips representative at the base affords some priviledges ,and Cummins has a car avaiable to him at all times. His target today is USS Gridley, the lead ship of her class. She is already through the destruction phase of her refit. Now the yard workers are busy modifying her mast and hull to accomadate new radar and weapons. His experience with the Sims Class is invaluable here as some potential difficulties are avoided. The refit is proceeding well, Gridley should be ready for sea duty in less than two weeks.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 139
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/12/2012 4:46:52 PM   
vettim89


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11 April 1942, Melbourne, Australia

The USS Shark is out of the dry dock and her crew is finally able to board her without limitation. LCDR Shane has delegated the repairs and maintainence of the boat to LT Haskins. DJ is amazed that the skipper seems almost disinterested with the sub. He spends most of his time in the yard office chatting with the Yard Master and other RAN officers. Haskins has been in the Navy long enough to know that differnt officers have different command styles, but the skipper's actions just ring false to him some how. He is already forming doubts about how things will go when they put to sea.

LT(jg) Moss has the sub's engine room tore completly apart. The Shark was six years older than Swordfish and her engine room arrangements were quite different. The four diesel engines only powered generators in the Porpoise Class boats. There was no direct linkage of the diesels to the propellor shafts. Instead the electric motors did all the work running off generator power while on the surface and the ships batteries while submerged. Moss was not particular fond of the arrangement because if there was a casualty in one or more of the electric motors, there was no way to bypass them.

DJ is on the conning tower monitoring the work there. The new RADAR requires that an addition mast be installed on the boat. While DJ trusts that the yard workers know what they are doing, no submariner is thrilled with an additional “Hole” being made in his boat even if it was for a very useful purpose. The yard workers were just going to have to abide Haskins presence. The foreman tries to usher DJ away with some not so kind words.

“Let me ask you something,” DJ says. “Are you going to go down with me to see how well your modification job holds up 250 feet beneath the surface?”

“Hell no,” the man said, “I ain't crazy.”

“I thought so,” Haskins says. “Being as I am the one who will have to take this boat into harm's way, I will stay exactly where I am and make sure the job gets done right. Its my neck on the line not yours!”

With that the men all went back to their work. DJ was not the world's most imposing figure, but any man who would take a perfectly good ship and sink it deleberately had to be daft. None of them wanted any part of that.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 140
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/12/2012 4:48:00 PM   
vettim89


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12 April 1942, Alameda NAS, CA

The men of the Enterpise's Air Group had staggered back into the base last night just before curfew. The condition of the men varied when they returned, but quite a few of them were still suffering the “effects” of the liberty this morning. LT(jg) James West isn't sure the Bay area will ever recover from the visitation of nearly ten thousand sailors and air men who had just descended upon it. James had imbibed a bit himself but kept it within reason. There was no need to ruin a perfectly good liberty with a perfectly rotten hangover.

The men of VS-6 were gathered on the tarmac in front of their new SBDs. LCDR Fox of the Bureau of Aviation was going over the differences between the -2 and -3 models of the Dauntless. The new version was slightly heavier because of the added protection, but the slightly improved R-1820-52 powerplant offsets the weight pretty well. The -3 lost a few miles off her top speed over the -2, but the new model has a better climb rate. The -3 could in theory carry a much heavier bomb load but the Navy had no plans to equip them with anything larger than a 1000 lber. Besides the added protective measures, the biggest difference between the two models was that the new powerplant was much more fuel efficient allowing them to cruise at nearly 30 MPH faster than the old one. This would knock fifteen minutes off the flight time on a 200 NM run.

With the orientation complete, the men took to their planes. West taxied his new bird down to the end of the runway in line with his sqaudronmates. They took off single file and formed up over the Bay. The purpose of the flight was merely to get them used to the feel of the new birds and was only a quick 100 NM run out to sea and back. James didn't think the bird felt that much different. Perhaps a little bit more sluggish on the controls but nothing that was overly concerning. He did like the better climb rate as it it took a full minute less to reach their cruise altitude of 12,000 feet. The adjustments were minor and he was sure in a few weeks he wouldn't even be aware of them anymore. What he did know was that he was a lot safer in this version. That more than made up for liberty being over.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 141
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/12/2012 9:40:34 PM   
vettim89


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13 April 1942, North of Vita Levu

LT(jg) Hank Tyler has his PBY on patrol heading out from the base at Suva. The patrols are getting monotonous. At least when they first arrived in Fiji a few weeks ago they was a newness to the geography. Now it was just the same old same old. Miles of featureless ocean broken by the occasional rock of an island that some fool felt the need to name. Other than a few sub sightings around the approaches to Suva harbor, no one had seen a thing since they had arrived in the South Pacific.

Hank's headphones suddenly crackle.

“Sir,” the radioman says, “I just picked up a message. Jap carriers have just been spotted 300 NM north of Noumea.”

Hank stiffens immediately. That is less than 700 NM from their current location.

“Sparks,” he says cueing the mic, “are you sure about that?”

“Yes, sir,” he answers. “I just got confirmation from Suva. The Japs are attacking the airbase and port at Noumea.”

“All right everybody, look sharp,” Hank says straightening in his seat. “There may be more carriers out there and I don't wanna be caught with our pants down.”

They continue the patrol out to 600 NM from the base. They turn east for a short while then turn back towards home. There is no further reports of any Japanese activity. Hank wonders if this is a prelude to an invasion or just a raid. He know the IJN has raided Ceylon with its carriers. Could this be the same? Or are the Japs coming for real? He doesn't relax during the remainder of the trip. He comes to the sudden realization that he has let himself get far too lax in his approach to these missions. He shudders to think that he could have come up on top of a Jap CVTF while day dreaming.
No further information is available when they return to base. The jap carriers simply appeared out of no where and then disappeared. Hank does the math in his head. If the Japanese steam at maximum speed over night, they could be within striking range of Suva by morning.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 142
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/14/2012 1:21:34 AM   
vettim89


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14 April 1942, Suva, Fiji

The men of VP-51 not assigned to fly today are gathered around the radio hut. Two groups of Japanese carriers have been spoted to the west and northwest of Vita Levu. At present the New Zealand base at Nadi, just 40 NM to the west, is under attack. While the base is taking a beating for sure, the Japanese seem to be dropping their bombs from very high altitude. This is affecting their accuracy considerably. Up overhead there is a Combat Air Patrol made up of Buffalo and Wildcat fighters. LT(jg) Hank Tyler doubts they would stand much of a chance against the full power of two Japanese carrier groups.

“What the hell do you think the Japs are up to, Lieutenant?,” Judd Stephens asks.

“Dunno, Judd,” Hank replies. “Could be a run up to an invasion. From what I heard they did they same thing before they invaded Port Moresby.”

“You think they're comin' here?” Judd asks

“Again, dunno,” Tyler answers. “Could just be a raid like they did at Ceylon.”

“Well, they are missing the target if they are,” Stephens says. “There ain't much over at Nadi. Just a few Kiwi patrol sqadrons.”

“And a few thousand New Zealand troops,” Hank adds.

“May be true, but just looking around here you gotta say Suva would be a far juicer target,” Judd says.

“Without reconing the base beforehand, they are just guessing,” Tyler says.

“Well then the guessed wrong, didn't they?” Judd asks

“I doubt the Kiwis over at Nadi feel that way right now,” Hank says

“I bet not,” Judd has to agree.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 143
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/14/2012 1:23:09 AM   
vettim89


Posts: 3331
Joined: 7/14/2007
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15 April 1942, Northwest of Vita Levu

Hank Tyler has drawn the hot search arc this morning. His PBY is assigned the westernmost arc of the squadron's search pattern out of Suva. If the Japanese are going to be anywhere, they are likely going to be here. The men aboard the flying boat are tense. No one's mind is wandering today. Eyes are in constant motion flicking back and forth from the sea surface to the skies around the plane. Every sea bird moving into the field of view is closely examined to assure it is not instead an enemy fighter. There are no reports from the radio. No one has seen the Japanese carriers. There are no surprise air raids today. Its all just too damned quiet.

“Take her for a while, Mike,” Hank Tyler says to his copilot.

Hank leans back into his seat and stretches his aching muscles. He reaches up and rubs his eyes to ease their fatigue.

“Anybody see anything?” he says cueing the intercom button.

A round of negatives answers his call.

“Ok, Mike, turn her towards home,” he orders Page

They are 600 NM from the base. They nearest friendly aircraft is over 100 NM away. Now after five long hours of flying at constant alert, they are heading back. Hank never understood why the squadron rotated the crews and aircraft the way they did until now. While some of it had to do with keeping the airframes in working order, most of it had to do with keeping crew fatigue down. He now understood the logic of that policy. He was already beat and they still had a four hour flight home. He was glad he wouldn't be flying again tomorrow. He was also kicking himself for his attitude up to this point of the War. He now realized that he didn't take his duties as seriously as he should. He has never been this tired during a mission, and he knows that is because he was half assing his way through them. They were lucky they had not bumped into the enemy up to this point. He resolved himself to be more dilligent in the future not only because it was his duty but to save his own skin also.

He landed the plane and taxied up to the mooring buoy. Debriefing was a noneventful task – he didn't see anything worth reporting. He grabbed some chow and headed back to his tent. When he got their, he picked up his paper and began to write.

Dear Emily,

I wanted to let you know that I am safe and well. I am sure you are hearing stories about Japanese attacks in the news. We are well protected at our base. You need not worry about my safety. I also wanted you to know that I miss you very much. You are in my thoughts daily. The one thing that sustains me is the thought of one day returning to you.

You would never believe what happened to me last week. One of the other pilots in the unit and I were hiking in the jungle and......


_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 144
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/21/2012 1:48:06 PM   
cantona2


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Have the Dogs had enough of war vettim?

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Post #: 145
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/21/2012 10:13:25 PM   
vettim89


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quote:

ORIGINAL: cantona2

Have the Dogs had enough of war vettim?


No. Quite frankly I was mourning LT(jg) Jame West's demise. I have decided I am going to save him as he is not "offcially" dead. By that I mean he is not listed on any report as having been KIA. So I decided I am going to have him rescued but ground him due to his injuries. Danger of getting a little too attached to you pixelated fly boys.


_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to cantona2)
Post #: 146
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/21/2012 10:30:24 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3331
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: offline
16 April 1942, Camp Elliot, CA

CPT Brett Castlebury is returning to the barracks after a meeting at Battalion HQ. New orders had been given. As soon as the Navy could organize the shipping, 6th Marines would be shipping out for Hawaii. They rest of the 2nd Marine Division was protecting the Big Island and his regiment would soon be joining them. Where they would go from there was still a mystery. Brett had to admit to himself that he was a little bit peeved. While he and the rest of the regiment were freezing their nibblets off in Iceland, the other two regiments had been parked in warm and sunny Hawaii.
“Some guys have all the luck,” he says to himself on the walk back.

Still, the weather here in San Diego didn't suck. It was sunny and warm almost every day. The proximity to the Pacific meant there was almost always a nice cooling breeze. It hardly ever rained here, and, most days, there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Yeah, there definitely are worse places he could be stuck right now.

Brett briefs the officers and sends them off to tell their men. They all seemed pretty tickled to be heading out to the Islands also.

“So what do you think we will be doing out there?” 1LT Broadway asks.

“Well the party line is that we are going to augment the defense,” Brett answers.

“But you don't think that's all I take it?” Broadway says.

“No, no I don't as a matter of fact,” Castlebury says. “I think there are bigger plans probably being made even now and this is the first step.”
How so, CPT?” the Lieutenant asks.

“Well if a man thinks about how thes war has been fought so far, we have basically been protecting those vital area we don't want to lose. Its more of a “denial” type mission.

“I'm following you, “ Broadway says, “but you still having told me where you think we're going.”

“No, I haven't have I,” Brett said teasing the XO just a bit, “Truth is I don't know for sure, but I will says this: the USMC is by definition an assaulting force. If you beleive that statement, it has to mean we are going to take back some place the Japs have already captured. We are going to take something away that they either want or need, The Division is not going to play nurse maid to the people in Hawaii for the rest of the war. No when we go, it will be something far more substantial and risky.”

“Nothing specific though, right” Broadway says

“No but I'll put five bucks down right now that you won't be able to pronounce the name of where we are going when we find out.

Bet's on,” Broadway answers.

< Message edited by vettim89 -- 2/21/2012 10:32:42 PM >


_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 147
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/21/2012 10:33:10 PM   
vettim89


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17 April 1942, Treasure Island Naval Base, CA

LT Greg Cummins arrives by motor launch from Alameda. The upgrades of the nine destroyers based there is going along smoothly. The entire group should be ready for sea with a week. A courier had brougt a message to him earlier today saying CPT Strothers needed to see him ASAP. He finished his morning tasks and cuaght a launch over the Treasure Island. He honestly had no idea what the Captain could want with him. The upgrades were going almost flawlessly. Was some one griping about the pressjure he was putting on the yard workers?

He finds himself waiting in the same room he did two weeks ago. Fortunately, his wait wasn't long. The PO at the desk told him it was his turn to see Captain Strothers

“Come in, Greg,” Strothers said motioning him to a chair. “I'm getting great feed back on your work here. The yard people are whining a little bit on how hard you are pushing, but the ship's commanders are all very happy. As far as I'm concerned, that's all that matters to me.”

“Good to here that, Sir,” Greg says. “So I gather I haven't been called here to be chewed out.”

“Not at all,” Strothers says. “No, we have another problem that needs your expertise. You ever been to Hawaii?”

“No sir,” he replies. “My sea duty has all been in the Atlantic to this point.”

“Then I guess we are about to broaden your horizons,” the Captain says smiling. “There are eight Mahan Class Destroyers out at Pearl. They are in the midst of their upgrades and things are not going well. Captin Lawrence has requested your presence there to put things in order.”

“So Captain Lawrence is going to sic his attack dog on the poor yard people on Oahu, eh?” Cummins says.

“That about sums it up,” Strothers says. “You'll like Hawaii, Greg. It is one of the few places I have visited in life that was actaully better than how people described it. “

“Well, I've always wanted to see it for myself,” Greg says. “I guess I am about to get my chance.”

“The Navy has commandeered the former Pacific Clipper Fleet,” Strothers says. “ One is due to leave here tomorrow morning for Pearl. There is a seat reserved for you on that flight. I'm sorry to see you go, Greg, but it sounds like BurShips has bigger fish for you to fry.”

Greg stands to leave.

“Thank you, sir,” he says, “and thank you for your support of my work here. It made all the difference to know that my superiors had my back during this project.”

“Good luck, Greg,” Strothers says with a hand shake and salute.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 148
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/21/2012 10:34:03 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3331
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From: Toledo, Ohio
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18 April 1942, Melbourne, Australia

LT DJ Haskins is enjoying another supper with the Floyds. Artie's wife , Harriet, has truly outdone herself this time. She has prepared a full rack of lamb for DJ's farewell meal. Shark's repairs are nearly complete. They will take her out tomorrow for a shake down cruise then sail for Perth the next day if everythig checks out. As much as he wants to get back into the War, he is truly melancholy about not seeing the Floyds after tonight. They have become like a second family to him. They are some of the finest people he has met in his entire life.

The Floyd's daughter-in-law, Mary, and her son, Barry have joined them this evening. The meal is more than a bit of a splurge for the family, and it would be a shame to not share it with as many people as possible. DJ has never had lamb before tonight, and he takes his first bite tentatively. The meat is tender and has a stronger flavor than beef. He now regrets waiting so long to try it. The meal goes by very quickly it seems, and before long DJ and Artie are sitting on the patio while Mary and Harriet clear the table.

“You ready?” Artie says looking out on the bay.

“Yes, as much as I ever will be,” DJ aswers.

“You still worried about your Commader?” Artie asks

“I'm afraid so,” DJ says slowly. “Maybe its just me being stubborn about accepting change. LCDR Smith was a superb officer and LT Phelps the same. I just don't have the same confidence in LCDR Shane. The man just some how seems out of his element.”

“A square peg in a round hole so they say” Floyd comments.

“Exactly!” DJ says. “I am sure he is a fine man. It just seems like he would rather be somewhere else doing something else.”

“Well, my boy,” Artie says, ”he's lucky he's got you then. You may have to take some of the load off of him. “

“Are you suggesting I be insubordinate?” DJ asks suprised at Floyd's comment.

“No, no,” Artie says, “not at all. I am just saying that a commading officer is only as good as the men beneath him. “
Artie pauses.

“Sometimes a man performs better than his capabilites should allow because the men below him are superbly qualified. That's what I am saying: he may, before all is said and done, need you to save is brisket if you know what I mean.”

“I do, Artie, I do”, DJ answers. He contemplates the point as he sips his beer. He had always served under what he had considered excellant officers. Following their leadership had always been without question. It never occured to him that a junior officer would be more of a leader than his superior.

Some how it just rubbed him wrong.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 149
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/21/2012 10:35:44 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3331
Joined: 7/14/2007
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19 April 1942, Alamaeda NAS, CA

“A man could get used to living this life of luxury we have here,” LT(jg) Carey says.

“I don't know that I would call this luxury,” LT(jg) West says, “but I do get your meaning”

The men of VS-6 are certainly more at ease here on shore. They flew training missions nearly every day, but there are no daily search missions, no fear of sub attack, and they get to sleep in bunks that aren't moving with a ship's motion. True, they had not yet seen combat but that didn't mean they weren't under stress. The Enterprise has spent over four months at sea at combat readiness. The constant state of alert wore on a man even if the enemy wasn't shooting at him.

“I wouldn't get too comfortable, Bob,” James says. “I have a feeling as soon as the old girl is out of the shop, we'll be heading out again.”

“I would think a scholar like would know the scripture better than that, James,” Carey says.

“How's that?” James saya with piqued interest.

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, Matthew 6:34,” Carey answers

“Now that's a switch,” ENS Stone injects. “The curmudgeon has become the philosopher.”

“Guess I must be rubbing off on you guys,” James quickly inserts.

The other three men just roll their eyes.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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