I stole this one from my Shipmate, Peter T. Yeschenko
THE SPANISH OFFICIALLY SURRENDER GUAM WITHOUT FIRING A SHOT!
ALSO THE SPANISH TRIED TO BORROW AMMUNITION FROM THE AMERICANS NAVY!
TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION!
In the first stages of the Spanish-American War, on 14 April 1898, the USS Charleston was ordered to capture the Spanish island of Guam.
Once the USS Charleston arrive at Guam, they had been given only two days to complete this mission.
On the evening of 20 June 1898, the USS Charleston finally reached Guam, time was running out. With every reason to expect heavy resistance, the USS Charleston fired 13 shots at the Spanish fort of Santa Luz and waited for a response.
The Spanish response was not the expected barrage of cannon fire that the Americans were expecting. Instead the Spanish sent a single small boat , carrying a Spanish officer to the USS Charleston who politely asked permission to come aboard.
Out of curiosity, the USS Charleston Commanding Officer, Captain Henry Glass let him come aboard.
The Spaniard politely welcomed the USS Charleston to Guam.
Then, the Spanish Officer thanked the Americans for their lovely 13 gun salute…and apologized that they had not saluted back as they were completely out of gunpowder.
The Spanish Officer proceeded to earnestly ask if the Americans if they would lend him some gun powdered so the Spanish could return the favor.
After what had to have been one of the most hilariously awkward conversations in the history of warfare, a confused and presumably very annoyed Spanish officer informed the Americans that Spain had never bothered to inform Guam that they were at war with the US.
This is why, the Spanish didn’t bother stocking up on gunpowder.
On 21 June 1898, the Spanish Armed Forces on Guam officially surrendered to the US Navy.
This is how the strategically important island of Guam surrendered without firing a single shot.
PICTURE: The USS Charleston entering Agana Harbor in Guam in 1898.
He was within three months of retirement. His ship was deploying to the Indian Ocean for a protracted period. They sent him TAD to the FF I was serving in. He was a BT2, but the XO decided the best place for him was Mess Deck Master at Arms.
That’s how he came to work for me. Let me describe BT2. He was about 5’6” and probably about the same around the waist. His standard 39” Navy belt had at least an 18” extension sewn onto it. He constantly walked around pulling his pants up. He was so close to retiring that he ignored all references to the weight control or PT programs. He lived in the snipes’ compartment, just aft of the Mess Decks. The MMC told me that they had to remove a middle rack so he could get into the bottom bunk. No one wanted him climbing into a top rack above them.
He was a surprisingly good MDMAA. He supervised and followed up on the messcooks and maintained control in the mess line. His biggest fault was his proximity to the abundance of food available to him. He constantly walked around with a sandwich (I saw him eat a pork & bean sandwich once) or a piece of leftover cake. He probably added a couple of inches during the sixty some days he worked for me.
There was a ladder to Engineering berthing accessed through a standard Navy hatch. The hatch had a standard scuttle for use during GQ or other evolutions when the hatch had to be closed.
We were at sea and the hatch was closed for some reason and the scuttle was being used to access the berthing space.
Everyone laughed so hard we could hardly breathe… when the ETC came into the CPO Mess and said, “I just watched the MDMAA coming through the scuttle from Engineer Berthing. It was like the fucking hatch was giving birth to him,”
“They got three new topside Ensigns who will be coming down this afternoon to work on Engineering Quals for their Surface Warfare Pins. To quote the Divo, ‘keep them out of my fucking hair.’ So they are on you today.” BTC replied.
“Chief, fuck, I gotta get ready to light off tomorrow. I don’t have time to babysit Ensigns.” BT1 moaned
BTC said, “You said that BT2 is good at getting the kids to follow him and believe his bullshit. Turn them over to him. Just tell him to get them qualified on a couple or three things and we won’t have to deal with them for a few days.”
Later in the day, BTC was going into the fireroom as the three Ensigns were coming out. They seemed pleased with themselves.
He found BT1 and said, “I take it things went well with the Ensigns. They seemed satisfied as they came up the ladder.”
“That fucking BT2,” BT1 exclaimed. “He had them dudes eating out of his hand. He found out one of them is in the same stateroom as the Galley Officer. He sent him to score a can of coffee. In the meantime, he had the other two hump a bale of rags down here. Afterward he had the three them empty the shitcans, Then he instructed them in the correct way to dismantle and clean the coffee pot. Then they made a fresh pot of coffee and the three of them stood around drinking coffee while BT2 told them that they had made o good start in understanding the Engineering Department.”
He added, “They left here fully qualified on the rag bag, the shitcan, and the Fireroom coffee maker.”
The hoarding and shortage of toilet paper during the recent Chinese COVID pandemic reminded me of a chain of events that took place on a Guided Missile Cruiser when the Navy disguised them as Destroyers because congress decided that in the modern Navy with super Aircraft Carriers, Battleships and Cruisers were an anachronism. They redesignated them as Cruisers to create a shortage of Destroyers when congress balked at providing funding for new Destroyers.
It was BT1’s month in the barrel. It was B Division’s turn to provide a Petty Officer to oversee the MM/BT compartment and the Engineering head. That meant, instead of concentrating on events in his fireroom, every morning, he had to corral the compartment and head cleaners and oversee their work until the Executive Officer’s Messing and Berthing Inspection. Afterward, he had to make sure all discrepancies were corrected before he could concentrate on his Fireroom.
Every morning as he did a walk through of the berthing compartment, he began to see rolls of toilet paper adrift. Although he lived in the compartment, he had not noticed it before. Every day there was more toilet paper. He instructed the coop cleaner to gather it and store it in the locker designated for that purpose.
The Fireman cleaner told him, “BT1, there ain’t room in the locker. It is full of shit paper.”
BT1, “Where the fuck is all of it coming from.”
“Everybody is getting’ ready for the toilet paper shortage.”
“What toilet paper shortage,” asked BT1
“BT2 said he heard it from a YN who is on 7th Fleet staff the other night at the P.O. Club. The Navy has got a shortage of shit paper and an order is coming telling us we can only use four of them little squares when we take a dump. That slick Navy shit paper don’t remove much shit unless you get a big ass wad of it. Gonna be a lot of hash marked skivvies when that message comes down.”
BT1 passed the word through B and M divisions that there was no shortage of toilet paper, that its use was not going to be controlled or curtailed, and there was no reason to steal toilet paper and hoard it.
The BTC asked BT1, “What’s this thing with the toilet paper about?”
BT1 said, “That damned BT2 is able to get these fucking kids to believe anything. You remember he had them going to church and Devine Services in Subic because he convinced them that if they prayed before getting pussy, they wouldn’t catch the clap.”
The new Commanding Officer had taken command a few days before the new DLG departed Long Beach for the ship’s next deployment to the Western Pacific and the Vietnam warzone. He had spent the first few days reviewing records and reports generated by the ship. As he read, he became deeply concerned. During the previous WestPac deployment, the ship had amassed quite a large number of VD cases, usually after visits to Subic Bay, and liberty incidents involving alcohol.
Being a highly religious person and a lay preacher in his church, the Captain determined to reduce the numbers during this cruise. He discussed it with the Executive Officer and directed him to have the Department Heads and Division Officers conduct group counseling sessions with their personnel stressing the bible and the sixth commandment.
Ensign Smith had reported the day before the ship deployed. He was assigned to a week in each division in the Engineering Department before becoming the Damage Control Assistant. He was currently attached to the Senior Chief BT because the LDO B Division Officer didn’t want to deal with him.
The B Divo turned the counseling task over to the Ensign and told him to stress religion. In preparation, he took a bible from the bookcase in the Wardroom, went to his stateroom to figure out what to say during his meeting with the off-watch BT’s. He eventually decided to talk about the Ten Commandments. He took some notes and prepared his talk. He decided to talk about “You shall not commit adultery” and “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or wife…” He also decided to talk about the power of prayer.
The following morning, all off-watch BTs mustered on the fantail. The Ensign talked at length on abstaining from strong drink, the Shall not Covet Commandment, the Adultery Commandment, and the importance of praying. After he was finished, he asked, “Does anyone have any questions?”
Getting no response, he dismissed the men, thinking that it had gone well. As he walked away, he heard one of the Firemen ask a grizzled career Second Class, “What did he say?”
The Petty Officer replied, “He said, Don’t get shitfaced, don’t sleep in your shipmate’s rack or hit on his barhog, it’s okay to fuck if you are married, and say a prayer before you get some pussy!”
“Taps” is a musical piece sounded at dusk, and at funerals, particularly by the US military.
tune is also sometimes known as “Butterfield’s Lullaby”.
The tune is actually a variation of an earlier bugle call known as the “Scott’s Tattoo” which was used in the US from 1835 until 1860, and was arranged in its present form by the Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield, an American Civil War general and Medal of Honor recipient.
In July 1862 to replace a previous French bugle call used to signal “lights out”.
General Butterfield’s bugler, Oliver W. Norton, of Erie, from Pennsylvania, was the first to sound the new call.
Within months, Taps was used by both Union and Confederate forces. It was officially recognized by the United States Army in 1874.
Captain John C. Tidball, West Point, Class of 1848, started the custom of playing taps at a military funeral.
It became a standard component to US military funerals in 1891.
“Taps” is sounded nightly on military installations at non-deployed locations to indicate that it is “lights out”.
When “Taps” is sounded at a funeral, it is customary for serving members of the military or veterans to salute.
The corresponding gesture for civilians is to place the right hand over the heart.